[Monday Morning Reading will be a recurring feature here at ASW to fill the gap between our links posts - bringing you current affairs articles - and our regular blog posts. These posts will be filled with long articles from across the internet related to Asia-Pacific politics and security.]


Comparative Connections Vol 13, No. 3

Comparative Connections is the CSIS‘s triannual review of Asia-Pacific bilateral relations, great for catching up, and with insight into recent events from some of the key scholars in the field. Their new issue came out last week.



By Jingo

Japan-based blogger Ampontan examines a blog post at The American Interest by Walter Russell Mead on the political tussles of the US and China. Picking apart his argument point for point, something that Ampontan does best, the post makes for a great primer on US/Chinese relations in the Asia-Pacific.


Campaign 2012: China
Elizabeth C. Economy [CFR]

This one is not strictly reading, but over at the Council for Foreign Relations, Elizabeth C. Economy discusses the issues facing the next President of the United States with regards to China, as part of their video interview series on the key foreign policy issues of this year’s election.



Responses to “North Korea: What Not to Do
Evans Revere/Ralph Cossa [CSIS]

Another good point-counterpoint reading can be seen in Evans Revere and Ralph Cossa’s responses to a Victor Cha article from The Diplomat discussing his belief that the North Korean power succession is far less well-planned than many analysts would have us believe. That article and these responses, inferences based on what little we can deduce from the goings-on of the closed-off country, paint a picture of the current debate on the transition that Cha sums up rather well:

There are clearly emerging two schools of thought on “post-Kim Jong Il” North Korea. “Optimists” who see the North as having all their ducks lined up neatly and implementing the succession plan like a two-minute drill at the end of a football game. Then there are “pessimists” who think they do not have a well-planned process and/or will encounter serious problems given the premature death of Kim.

The truth is no doubt somewhere in the middle – life is rarely as well-planned as the Arirang Festival – but it doesn’t hurt to understand both sides.

An overview of the North Korean leadership, beyond the oft-seen simple equation of agent and state, can be found over at CFR: “Leadership Transition in North Korea. Another article, this time from East Asia Forum, “North Korea’s transition: do not let contingencies distract from realities” looks at the implications of transition for the international community.


North Korea from 30,000 feet
Niko Milonopoulos, Siegfried S. Hecker, and Robert Carlin [BAS]

This article, showing satellite photography purporting to show development of a light-water reactor at the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility in North Korea, is actually a follow-up to an earlier Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article which is sadly behind a journal paywall. It provides insight not only on the nuclear developments within the country, but also considers what the power succession means for North Korea’s nuclear program.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 9 post(s) on Asia Security Watch