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Friday, February 19, 2010

CRS Issue Statement on the Korean Peninsula and Japan

Mark E. Manyin, Coordinator
Specialist in Asian Affairs

The Korean Peninsula and Japan represent a study in contrasts for U.S. foreign policy interests: the established democracies of Japan and the South Korea are long-standing U.S. military allies, while totalitarian North Korea represents one of the United States= biggest challenges through its production of nuclear weapons and missiles and its record of serious human rights abuses. Issues for Congress with respect to the three states relate to strategy and policies to maintain U.S. interests in security, stability, human rights, and trade and financial relationships both with and within the region. 

The most prominent issue is North Korea's nuclear weapons program. For Congress, the major policy question is to what extent it should support a policy of engagement through diplomacy and incentives or a policy of coercion through additional pressure and confrontation, or a combination of the two. A challenge for the United States is balancing its desire to achieve a full dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and prevent proliferation with concerns about: North Korea=s willingness to stick with any deal, the continued evolution of its long-range missile capabilities, and the interests of the four other parties (China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia) in the Six-Party Talks over North Korea's program.

Date of Report: January 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40341
Price: $7.95

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