On 11 February the South Korean government abruptly shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), a joint inter-Korean industrial zone located just north of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). The closure left more than 52,000 North Korean workers unemployed and more than 120 South Korean companies with nowhere to do business.
The December 19 announcement of Kim Jong-il’s death has stimulated another round of useful debate in the United States about how it and its South Korean and Japanese allies should deal with North Korea. Predictions about what is likely to happen under the new leadership of Kim Jong-un run the gamut, and suggested policies are just as diverse.
Although China’s increasingly “assertive” international conduct has naturally stirred widespread concern in both Asia and the US, especially regarding the South China Sea, an overview of Beijing’s foreign policy suggests a less alarming perspective.