Russia’s stake in Korea: How U.S.-backed unification could work for Moscow

We hear so much about China and Japan competing on and for the Korean peninsula, now and historically, that we overlook one other great Northeast Asian power.

That would be Russia, which has a 17-kilometer border with North Korea as the Tumen River flows into the sea. Continue reading

Korean unification: a rising cost for Beijing

Recently, I argued that China has a strong security interest in delaying Korean unification. At a Korean National Defense University (KNDU) panel event earlier this month, on which I sat, there was near unanimity that China gains both geopolitical advantage as well as regime security by keeping the robust democracies (and militaries) of South Korea, Japan, and the US several hundred miles further back from its border.

But there are costs too. And there is a growing body of evidence that these costs, particularly to China’s reputation, are provoking a ‘track II’ debate on whether to cut North Korea loose. The following are excerpts from my longer KNDU paper on this. Please email me if you would like the full version. Continue reading