The Korea Chair team takes a biweekly look back at events of interest in Washington, Seoul, and the region from February 25 - March 9, 2016.
U.S.-ROK RELATIONS | Annual U.S.-ROK Combined Military Exercises Commence
On March 7, the annual U.S.-ROK military exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle commenced, involving about 17,000 U.S. troops and 300,000 ROK troops. Key Resolve, a command post exercise (CPE), will run from March 7 to March 18, while Key Resolve, a field training exercise (FTE), will run from March 7 to April 30. This year’s exercises, the largest since 2010, involve the new OPLAN 5015, signed last June by the two allies, which focuses on preemptive strikes against North Korea. Finally, the Ssang Yong exercise, a biennial amphibious landing drill, will take place March 27 to April 7.
High-Level Bilateral Commission on Nuclear Energy
On March 3, the U.S.-ROK High-Level Bilateral Commission on Nuclear Energy was launched in Washington, D.C. The first meeting will be held in Seoul on April 14. The chairs are vice minister of foreign affairs Cho Tae-yul and deputy secretary of energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. This commission is the next step in creating better coordination for nuclear cooperation between the United States and ROK as part of the new “123 Agreement.”
GLOBAL RELATIONS | UN Security Council Adopts Resolution 2270
On March 3, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UNSCR 2270 in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test. UNSCR 2270 imposed the strongest set of sanctions yet on North Korea, targeting its financial and nuclear/missile programs. The measures include a new requirement for all UN member states to inspect cargo/ships headed to or originating from North Korea that pass through their territory. In line with the resolution, the Philippines impounded a North Korean freighter, the Jin Teng, on March 6. China barred the Grand Karo from entering its Rizhao Port on March 9 and the Gold Star 3 from entering Hong Kong on March 10. These three ships are all sanctioned by the new UNSCR 2270. Furthermore, the ROK also adopted its own additional set of unilateral sanctions on March 8, which includes a list of sanctioned North Korean individuals and entities.