Dr. Alon Levkowitz

Dr. Alon Levkowitz

Dr. Alon Levkowitz

(Ph.D. Hebrew University) Specializes in East Asian security, the Korean Peninsula (foreign, security, politics and history), and Asian international organizations. Email: [email protected]

The Korean Peninsula: Peaceful Change or Back to Square One?

| May 21, 2018

The Korean summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in was full of encouraging optics, but it is too early to declare the success of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism.

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The Trump-Kim Summit: The View from Seoul

| March 26, 2018

The prospective Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit has caused the Western media to focus primarily on Kim’s decision to initiate contact and Trump’s agreement to meet. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s role in organizing and advocating for the summit has been largely ignored.

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Giving Pyongyang a “Bloody Nose”

| March 1, 2018

Washington’s “bloody nose” strategy against Pyongyang forces South Korean President Moon Jae-in to strike a delicate balance between the American demand to end the North Korean nuclear and missile programs and Pyongyang’s insistence on keeping these programs intact.

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The 2018 Winter Olympics: Divided We Stand

| February 9, 2018

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is a major political as well as sporting event. The Olympic spirit of peace will be on full display when the North and South Korean teams enter the stadium together and even play together. But the new euphoria on the Peninsula has reignited a political debate between Korean conservatives and liberals on policy towards North Korea. While liberals see the Olympics as an opportunity for negotiation, conservatives see Pyongyang’s agreement to attend as a tactic to gain benefits and not a genuine expression of warming relations.

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The 2018 Winter Olympics and North Korea

| January 4, 2018

The good news is that the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, might serve as a venue for confidence-building measures towards negotiations between South and North Korea. The bad news is that North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear and missile capabilities. Pyongyang is changing its strategy towards Seoul in order to earn credit that it can use to ease sanctions without sacrificing deterrence.

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North Korea’s Missile Program

| December 10, 2017

North Korea’s missile program demonstrates Pyongyang’s ability to build a reliable deterrence capability against the US – but the program requires a huge budget. Pyongyang should be able to fund the industry in the short term, but sanctions and costs might eventually force it either to look for new income sources or to offer tactical concessions.

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President Moon Jae-in’s Dilemma

| October 25, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces pressure from Pyongyang, Beijing, and Washington as well as from his own country about the North Korean crisis. He needs to find ways to balance the multilevel exterior pressure with the expectations of the South Korean voting public, which elected him in the hope of bringing about a more peaceful North Korean policy.

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Tokyo’s North Korean Dilemma

| September 7, 2017

On August 29, 2017, North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 missile over Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean – a show of force that once again illustrated Japan’s vulnerability to North Korea’s ballistic missiles. Tokyo should reconsider its newly conciliatory method of coping with the threat from Pyongyang. It will not be able to deter North Korea alone, and may have no choice but to be more active militarily.

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North Korea: Sanctions Are Not Enough

| August 4, 2017

Will new economic sanctions against North Korea convince it to give up its nuclear and missile capabilities? No, they won’t. The US and its allies must evaluate whether the goals of new sanctions are feasible, how effective they can be, and whether they will be fully implemented. Without analyzing these parameters, new sanctions will be just more diplomatic kabuki that fails to change North Korean policy.

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From Osirak to Yongbyon

| June 26, 2017

North Korea is moving forward with its development of an ICBM that can carry a nuclear warhead. Will Pyongyang test it, challenging Washington to strike its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon? If Washington does strike, will Pyongyang choose to react passively as Syria did in 2007, or will it respond by starting a war with South Korean and American forces in the region? Although both sides use militant rhetoric, neither will choose to challenge the other. They will instead upgrade their deterrence capabilities.

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