Just Released by DoD — 2014 Military and Security Development Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
2014 Military and Security Development Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains one of the United States’ most critical security challenges for many reasons. These include North Korea’s willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, including attacks on the Republic of Korea (ROK), its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Under Kim Jong Il, DPRK strategy focused on internal security; coercive diplomacy to compel acceptance of its diplomatic, economic, and security interests; development of strategic military capabilities to deter external attack; and challenging the ROK and the U.S.-ROK Alliance. We anticipate these strategic goals will be consistent under North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong Un.
North Korea fields a large, forward-deployed military that retains the capability to inflict serious damage on the ROK, despite significant resource shortfalls and aging hardware. The DPRK continues to be deterred from conducting large-scale attacks on the ROK primarily due to the strength of the U.S.-ROK Alliance. On a smaller scale, however, the DPRK has demonstrated its willingness to use military provocation to achieve national goals. In 2010, it sank the ROK naval vessel CHEONAN, killing 46 ROK Navy sailors, and shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing two ROK Marines and two civilians.
North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear technology and capabilities and development of intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile programs, as reflected in the December 2012 Taepo Dong-2 missile launch and February 2013 nuclear test, underscore the threat to regional stability and U.S. national security posed by North Korea. These programs, and North Korea’s expressed hostility toward the ROK and proliferation of items prohibited under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087,and 2094, make the DPRK a continued security challenge for the United States and its Allies and partners.
North Korea’s third nuclear test in February 2013 and subsequent announcement of plans to restart and refurbish nuclear facilities at Yongbyon highlight the continued challenge posed by its nuclear programs. The September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, and 2094 call for the complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. Given North Korea’s unwillingness to abide by these commitments, the U.S. Department of Defense will continue to manage the North Korean security challenge through close coordination and consultation with the international community, particularly with our ROK and Japanese Allies.
The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korea’s continued provocations and steadfast in its commitments to Allies in the region, including the security provided by extended deterrence commitments through the nuclear umbrella and conventional forces.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)
This report examines the impact of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, and the U.S. and international response. Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons to strike land on record. Over a 16 hour period, the “super typhoon,” with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane and sustained winds of up to 195 mph, directly swept through six provinces in the central Philippines. The disaster quickly created a humanitarian crisis. In some of the hardest hit areas, particularly in coastal communities in Leyte province and the southern tip of Eastern Samar, the storm knocked out power, telecommunications, and water supplies. The humanitarian relief operation was initially hampered by a number of significant obstacles, including a general lack of transportation, extremely limited communications systems, damaged infrastructure, and seriously disrupted government services. Despite the physical and logistical challenges, regular relief activities reportedly reached most of the worst-stricken areas within two weeks of the storm.
Inbound China ePacket Costing Methodology (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General
The Postal Service did not isolate the cost of China ePackets, which limits its ability to establish effective pricing strategies. Although China Post sorts and dispatches ePackets separately from other mailpieces, the Postal Service did not calculate ePacket cost data separately from other letter post mailpieces or report it separately in the annual performance report to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
ePacket volume and revenue have increased, but the Postal Service still lost at least $39 million during FYs 2011 and 2012. Until accurate costs for ePackets can be identified and used as a basis for pricing, the risk of revenue loss for ePackets remains high.
The Postal Service could also pursue a product classification change for inbound letter post packets, which could increase revenue from China Post and other business partners in emerging global markets.
Countering Others’ Insurgencies: Understanding U.S. Small-Footprint Interventions in Local Context
Source: RAND Corporation
This study examines the counterinsurgency strategies and practices adopted by threatened regimes and the conditions under which U.S. “small-footprint” partnerships are likely to help these governments succeed. The report’s findings are derived from a mixed-method research design incorporating both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Simple statistical analyses are applied to a dataset of counterinsurgencies that have terminated since the end of the Cold War (72 in all), and more in-depth analyses are provided of two recent cases of U.S. partnerships with counterinsurgent regimes, in the Philippines and Pakistan. The quantitative analysis finds that the cases of small-footprint U.S. operations that are commonly touted as “success stories” all occurred in countries approximating a best-case scenario. Such a verdict is not meant to deny the importance of U.S. assistance; rather, it is meant to highlight that similar U.S. policies with less promising partner nations should not be expected to produce anywhere near the same levels of success. The majority of insurgencies have taken place in worst-case conditions, and in these environments, counterinsurgent regimes are typically unsuccessful in their efforts to end rebellion, and they often employ violence indiscriminately. The case studies of the Philippines and Pakistan largely reinforce the findings of the quantitative analysis. They also highlight the challenges the United States faces in attempting to influence partner regimes to fight counterinsurgencies in the manner that the United States would prefer. The study concludes with policy recommendations for managing troubled partnerships.
Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014
Source: Towers Watson
This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets. The countries included are Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The study also analyses seven countries in greater depth by excluding the six smallest markets (Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa).
The analysis includes:
- Asset size, including growth statistics, comparison of asset size with GDP and liabilities
- Asset allocation
- Defined benefit and defined contribution share of pension assets
- Public and private sector share of pension assets.
Canada and the Asia-Pacific Region Statistical Overview
Source: Library of Parliament
This paper provides a statistical representation of the demographics and economics of 21 member “economies” of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic forum: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
U.S. – South Korea Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Service)
South Korea is one of the United States’ most important strategic and economic partners in Asia, and for the past five years relations between the two countries (known officially as the Republic of Korea, or ROK) have been arguably at their best state in decades. Members of Congress tend to be interested South Korea-related issues for a number of reasons. First, the United States and South Korea have been allies since the early 1950s. The United States is committed to helping South Korea defend itself, particularly against any aggression from North Korea. The United States maintains about 28,500 troops in the ROK and South Korea is included under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.” Second, Washington and Seoul cooperate over how to deal with the challenges posed by North Korea. Third, South Korea’s emergence as a global player on a number of issues has provided greater opportunities for the two countries’ governments, businesses, and private organizations to interact and cooperate with one another.
Fourth, the two countries’ economies are closely entwined and are joined by the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). South Korea is the United States’ sixth-largest trading partner. The United States is South Korea’s second-largest trading partner. In late 2013 and early 2014, South Korea took the first steps toward possible entry into the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement negotiations.
U.S. – Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)
Japan and the United States are two major economic powers. Together they account for over 30% of world domestic product, for a significant portion of international trade in goods and services, and for a major portion of international investment. This economic clout makes the United States and Japan potentially powerful actors in the world economy. Economic conditions in the United States and Japan have a significant impact on the rest of the world. Furthermore, the U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship can influence economic conditions in other countries.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial in November 2011, in Honolulu, HI. If concluded as envisioned, the TPP potentially could eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties and could serve as a template for a future trade pact among APEC members and potentially other countries. Congress has a direct interest in the negotiations, both through influencing U.S. negotiating positions with the executive branch, and by passing legislation to implement any resulting agreement.
Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
From press release:
A wide array of crimes against humanity, arising from “policies established at the highest level of State,” have been committed and continue to take place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to a UN report released Monday, which also calls for urgent action by the international community to address the human rights situation in the country, including referral to the International Criminal Court.
In a 400-page set of linked reports and supporting documents, based on first-hand testimony from victims and witnesses, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK has documented in great detail the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the country.
“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the Commission — established by the Human Rights Council in March 2013 — says in a report that is unprecedented in scope.
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”
The second more detailed section of the report cites evidence provided by individual victims and witnesses, including the harrowing treatment meted out to political prisoners, some of whom said they would catch snakes and mice to feed malnourished babies. Others told of watching family members being murdered in prison camps, and of defenceless inmates being used for martial arts practice.
New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. U.S.-China Trade: United States Has Secured Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues, but U.S. Agency Reporting on Status Should Be Improved. GAO-14-102, February 11.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660823.pdf
U.S.-China Trade: Detailed Lists of Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues (GAO-14-224SP, February 2014), an E-supplement to GAO-14-102, February 11.
Statement for the Record
1. Personnel Security Clearances: Actions Needed to Ensure Quality of Background Investigations and Resulting Decisions, by Brenda S. Farrell, director, defense capabilities and management, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-138T, February 11, 2014.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660831.pdf
“Donkey Flights”: Illegal Immigration from the Punjab to the United Kingdom (PDF)
Source: Migration Policy Institute
The facilitation of illegal immigration is big business in India. One method being used to exploit immigration loopholes, explored in this report, is referred to as “donkey flights”—the practice of Indian migrants obtaining a tourist visa for a Schengen-zone country in order to enter the United Kingdom through the back door via other European countries.
Country Analysis Brief: China
Source: Energy Information Administration
China has quickly risen to the top ranks in global energy demand over the past few years. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer behind the United States and became the largest global energy consumer in 2010. The country was a net oil exporter until the early 1990s and became the world’s second-largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in 2009. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that China will surpass the United States as the largest net oil importer by 2014, in part due to China’s rising oil consumption. China’s oil consumption growth accounted for one-third of the world’s oil consumption growth in 2013, and EIA projects the same share in 2014.
Natural gas use in China has also increased rapidly in recent years, and China has sought to raise natural gas imports via pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG). China is the world’s top coal producer, consumer, and importer and accounted for about half of global coal consumption, an important factor in world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. China’s rising coal production is the key driver behind the country becoming the world’s largest energy producer in 2007. In line with its sizeable industrialization and swiftly modernizing economy, China also became the world’s largest power generator in 2011.
Direct Assistance: USAID Has Taken Positive Action to Assess Afghan Ministries’ Ability to Manage Donor Funds, but Concerns Remain
Direct Assistance: USAID Has Taken Positive Action to Assess Afghan Ministries’ Ability to Manage Donor Funds, but Concerns Remain (PDF)
Source: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
From January 2011 to August 2013, Ernst & Young and KPMG completed public financial management assessments of 16 Afghan ministries. Both contractors, who met almost all contract requirements, concluded that all of the 16 ministries assessed were unable to manage and account for funds unless they implemented recommendations included in the public financial management assessment reports. In the 16 public financial management assessments, Ernst & Young and KPMG identified 696 total recommendations for corrective action, ranging from 24 for Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (Afghanistan’s national power utility) to 63 for the Ministry of Public Health. Of these, the contractors rated 41 percent of the recommendations as “critical” or “high risk.”
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The United States and its partner countries are reducing military involvement in Afghanistan as Afghan security forces assume lead security responsibility throughout the country and the Afghan government prepares for presidential and provincial elections on April 5, 2014. The current international security mission terminates at the end of 2014 and will likely transition to a smaller mission consisting mostly of training the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in June 2011, was reduced to a “pre-surge” level of about 66,000 by September 2012, and is expected to fall to 34,000 in February 2014. The “residual force” that will likely remain in Afghanistan after 2014 is expected to consist of about 6,000-10,000 U.S. trainers and counterterrorism forces, assisted by about 5,000 partner forces performing similar missions. The U.S. troops that remain after 2014 would do so under a U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement that has been negotiated but which President Hamid Karzai, despite significant Afghan public a nd elite backing for the agreement, refuses to sign until additional conditions he has set down are met. Fearing instability after 2014, some ethnic and political faction leaders are reviving their militia forces should the international drawdown lead to a major Taliban push to retake power.
North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
North Korea has been among the most vexing and persistent problems in U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. The United States has never had formal diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the official name for North Korea). Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have occupied the past three U.S. administrations, even as some analysts anticipated a collapse of the isolated authoritarian regime. North Korea has been the recipient of well over $1 billion in U.S. aid and the target of dozens of U.S. sanctions.
This report provides background information on the negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program that began in the early 1990s under the Clinton Administration. As U.S. policy toward Pyongyang evolved through the George W. Bush and Obama presidencies, the negotiations moved from mostly bilateral to the multilateral Six-Party Talks (made up of China, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States). Although the negotiations have reached some key agreements that lay out deals for aid and recognition to North Korea in exchange for denuclearization, major problems with implementation have persisted. With Six- Party Talks suspended since 2009, concern about proliferation to other actors has grown.
The Surprisingly Swift Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Employment
Source: Federal Reserve Board
This paper finds a link between the sharp drop in U.S. manufacturing employment beginning in 2001 and a change in U.S. trade policy that eliminated potential tariff increases on Chinese imports. Industries where the threat of tariff hikes declines the most experience more severe employment losses along with larger increases in the value of imports from China and the number of firms engaged in China-U.S. trade. These results are robust to other potential explanations of the employment loss, and we show that the U.S. employment trends differ from those in the E.U., where there was no change in policy.
Exposure to neighborhood danger during childhood has negative effects that permeate multiple dimensions of childhood. The current study examined whether mothers’, fathers’, and children’s perceptions of neighborhood danger are related to child aggression, whether parental monitoring moderates this relation, and whether harsh parenting mediates this relation. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 1293 children (age M = 10.68, SD = 0.66; 51% girls) and their mothers (n = 1282) and fathers (n = 1075) in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Perceptions of greater neighborhood danger were associated with more child aggression in all nine countries according to mothers’ and fathers’ reports and in five of the nine countries according to children’s reports. Parental monitoring did not moderate the relation between perception of neighborhood danger and child aggression. The mediating role of harsh parenting was inconsistent across countries and reporters. Implications for further research are discussed, and include examination of more specific aspects of parental monitoring as well as more objective measures of neighborhood danger.
Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy
Source: Council on Foreign Relations
As U.S. and coalition forces prepare to draw down troops in Afghanistan, this new report urges Washington to view Pakistan not solely or even principally in the context of U.S.-Afghanistan policy, but rather to reorient the relationship toward Asia. “A U.S. strategy for Asia that does not contemplate Pakistan’s role is incomplete, and a U.S. strategy for Pakistan that primarily considers its role in the context of Afghanistan is shortsighted,” writes the report’s author, Daniel S. Markey, CFR senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia.