Country Report: South Korea (April 2023)


The recent South Korea-Japan and US-South Korea summits held in March and April have shown a glimmer of hope for the relationship between the three countries. However, the ever-present threat of North Korea’s provocations looms large, deepening the confrontational dynamic between the trilateral alliance of the United States, Japan, and South Korea, and the opposing alliance of North Korea, China, and Russia. President Yoon’s recent remarks in a foreign media interview, in which he mentioned the possibility of offering conditional military support to Ukraine and opposed China’s use of force to change the status quo in Taiwan, have provoked strong reactions from Russia and China, further highlighting the growing divide in the region that was already evident from the UN Security Council’s failure to address North Korea’s belligerence due to opposition from these same countries.

However, it is also worth noting that the alliances between South Korea, the United States, and Japan have not been entirely frictionless. Numerous issues requiring resolution remain between allied countries, including the Pentagon intelligence leak, remaining economic concerns, and unresolved historical issues with Japan, such as the controversy surrounding textbooks. Thus, it remains to be seen how this dynamic will evolve in the coming month and what implications it may have for the regional stability and security of the Korean Peninsula.

ROK-US Relations

Pentagon Intelligence Leak and US Spying on South Korea

In April, South Korea was thrust into the media spotlight as a result of the Pentagon intelligence leak ahead of the ROK-US summit in Washington. A trove of Pentagon documents leaked online revealed the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s internal discussions on the possibility of US President Joe Biden calling for South Korea’s lethal aid to Ukraine and putting pressure on South Korea to violate its policy on not providing military assistance to Ukraine.1 At first, the South Korean government sought to play down the intelligence leak ahead of Yoon’s state visit to the US. However, the aftermath of the leak lasted throughout the month of April.

In response to the intelligence leak, Seoul expressed doubt about the veracity of the leaked documents. On April 10, the presidential office said that after assessing the situation, the government would request the US to take “reasonable measures” if necessary.2 When the presidential office issued a statement on the next day, it noted that the defense ministers of South Korea and the US agreed that “a considerable amount of documents was fabricated,” stressing the need for further strengthening the trust and cooperation between Seoul and Washington through the ROK-US intelligence partnership.3

The government’s cautious response marked a stark contrast to the main opposition Democratic Party, which severely criticized both the US and Yoon administrations. The Democratic Party underlined the Pentagon intelligence documents suggesting Washington spied on Seoul as a “breach of national sovereignty,” urging the government to conduct a rigorous investigation and punish officials found responsible for the “large-scale security accident.”4 Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung said that if the alleged US eavesdropping turned out to be true, it would undermine trust in the ROK-US alliance.5 Calling for a strong protest over US spying on South Korea, Kim Byung-joo, Democratic Party lawmaker, pointed to the Yoon administration’s “hasty move” to relocate the presidential office to Yongsan as a major reason for the lack of security.6

In response, the ruling People Power Party (PPP) contradicted the accusations, lashing out at the opposition party for fueling conflicts between the allies. Kim Gi-hyeon, the leader of the ruling PPP, insisted that a fact check, especially whether the US wiretapping or monitoring had taken place, highlighted the need for a “careful approach that meets the national interest.”7 Labeling the Democratic Party’s criticism as an irresponsible political attempt to undermine the ROK-US alliance, Kang Min-guk, the spokesperson for the PPP, argued that the 70-year-old blood alliance between Seoul and Washington should never be the subject of political disputes.8

South Korea’s media outlets were unanimous in calling for the government to lodge a formal protest and demand an explanation as well as a guarantee to prevent a recurrence. Segye Ilbo said, “In a situation where the rift between democratic liberal countries and authoritarian countries has deepened, it is shocking that the US has spied on its friends and allies.”9 Kukmin Ilbo criticized that even though the US spying on other countries was an open secret, the US spying on South Korea’s presidential office was an apparent violation of South Korea’s sovereignty.10 Seoul Shinmun noted that the event summoned up memories of Edward Snowden’s leaks that disclosed the US agencies’ mass surveillance in 2013. As former US president Barack Obama promised not to eavesdrop on the leaders of close US friends and allies, it argued, Washington should apologize for eavesdropping on its allies and make a promise to prevent a recurrence.11

In contrast, opinions diverged significantly on the Yoon administration’s response to the US spying on South Korea. Hankyoreh expressed concerns over the government’s “self-abasing diplomacy,” indicating the Yoon administration’s reluctance in lodging strong protests with Washington.12 To maintain trust between the allies and protect national interests, Kyunghyang Shinmun said that it was necessary to respond sternly to other countries’ violation of sovereignty, including the country’s allies, rather than to give indulgence.13 While the progressive media outlets criticized that the Yoon administration was fixated on the upcoming ROK-US summit, the conservative Joongang Ilbo urged the government to manage the situation so that the event would not affect Yoon’s state visit to the United States.14 In addition, Dong-a Ilbo underscored the importance of confidentiality, especially when there are different interests between the allies, such as the US IRA and the CHIPS and Science Act with which South Korea has been grappling.15 Chosun Ilbo addressed South Korea as an “intelligence battlefield” surrounded by North Korea and regional powers, stressing that Seoul should focus on strengthening security under the premise that there would inevitably be constant efforts to spy on the country.16

President Yoon’s State Visit to Washington

Yoon Suk-yeol made a state visit to the United States on April 26 for a summit with Joe Biden. It has been over a decade since a South Korean leader last made an official state visit to the United States, with the previous instance being in 2011 when Lee Myung-bak was welcomed by former Barack Obama. Additionally, it was the second state visit for Biden, who had hosted French President Emmanuel Macron in December of last year.17

Yoon’s trip to the US was seen as a chance to address a range of issues, including economic concerns, as well as the effectiveness of extended deterrence in response to the increasing threat of North Korea’s nuclear program. The center-right Kukmin Ilbo noted that it was timely for the summit to take place in Washington at a time when there were rumors of North Korea conducting large-scale military exercises, including nuclear drills.18 The progressive Kyunghyang Shinmun pointed out that efforts should be made to minimize the disadvantages that Korean companies might face due to the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).19 Furthermore, Joongang Ilbo editorialized that Yoon would have ample chances to address delicate subjects like the controversy surrounding the Pentagon intelligence leak.20

On April 26, the Washington Declaration was unveiled, establishing a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG), which gained the spotlight as one of the most significant outcomes of the state visit. In addition to the reiteration of the US commitment to extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, the declaration stated that the NCG would enable Seoul and Washington to strengthen their “joint approach to planning for nuclear contingencies,” including discussion on nuclear and strategic planning and improvement of the ROK-US joint exercises to counter the increasing nuclear threat from North Korea.21

The Washington Declaration was hailed as proof that the US commitment to provide a “Nuclear Umbrella” for South Korea had progressed into a more reliable “Nuclear Shield.” Highlighting that the US strategic assets, including a nuclear ballistic missile submarine, would visit South Korea, Maeil Kyungjae expressed hope that the newly announced declaration could serve as an opportunity to advance the ROK-US security alliance.22 Seoul Shinmun noted that the ROK-US alliance was elevated to a “nuclear security alliance,” conveying a warning message to North Korea that the alliance was ready for nuclear retaliation at any time.23 Segye Ilbo underscored the significance of the Washington Declaration as an impetus to strengthen further US extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula.24

On the other hand, Chosun Ilbo paid close attention to Yoon’s reaffirmation of the ROK’s obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and noted that the establishment of the NCG was in exchange for giving up South Korea’s nuclear armament and redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons.25 In this sense, Joongang Ilbo said, despite the significance of the Washington Declaration, it was too early to predict the declaration was a “sufficient safety valve” against North Korea’s nuclear threat.26 Expressing concerns over the declaration, which could serve as a stepping stone toward a ROK-US-Japan military alliance, Hankyoreh urged that, in addition to the efforts to enhance the effectiveness of US extended deterrence, it was also necessary to make a breakthrough through dialogue and diplomacy.27

North Korea

North Korea’s Continuous Provocations Despite its Food Problem

During a plenary meeting on February 27, the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong-un, called for the successful achievement of this year’s target for cereal production and for fundamental changes in agricultural production within a few years. According to the Korean Central News Agency, the secretaries of the central committee raised concerns with the agricultural policies.28 The conservative Joongang Ilbo editorialized that the recent comments made by Kim Jong-un during the plenary meeting can be regarded as an acknowledgment that the food situation in North Korea is unsatisfactory, notwithstanding the government’s endeavors to address the issue.29

However, despite such problems, it seems that the Kim Jong-un regime is rather focusing on maintaining its grip on power. North Korea has launched another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on March 16, the day of the scheduled ROK-Japan summit.30 This is seen to be an attempt to reassert its control over the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, it may have been a move to impede the potential improvement of the historically strained relationship between South Korea and Japan, which has been a hindrance to trilateral cooperation among the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The ongoing pattern of escalation in the tense standoff between North and South Korea is being perpetuated by North Korea’s missile tests, which in turn have led to increased cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and Japan. This heightened cooperation is also seen as causing solidarity to grow among North Korea, China, and Russia.31

Furthermore, North Korea continued its provocations, citing the joint military exercises between the US and South Korea as a pretext, and even carried out a tactical nuclear aerial explosion test on March 14. They launched a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) KN23, which is North Korea’s version of the Iskander missile, into the East Sea and flew it for 800 km before detonating the nuclear explosion device and triggering the detonation mechanism at a height of 800 meters above sea level.32 The conservative Seoul Shinmun editorialized that the recent test can be seen as a blatant threat of mass destruction and is highly alarming in that it not only demonstrates North Korea’s clear intent for a nuclear attack on the South, but also reveals confidence in their improved nuclear strike capabilities.33 Kukmin Ilbo pointed out that such provocations aim at achieving recognition as a nuclear-armed state by the US, and to lead to direct talks between North Korea and the United States. However, Kukmin Ilbo has also criticized this action as a delusional move that will only lead to a significant strengthening of the South Korea-US extended deterrence and further political isolation of North Korea.34

Meanwhile, conservative media outlets doubt that North Korea will ever relinquish its obsession for nuclear capabilities. The conservative Segye Ilbo ediotorialized that there is a need for South Korea to shift its objective from pursuing denuclearization of North Korea to attaining “perfect nuclear deterrence.”35

UNHRC Resolution on North Korean Human Rights

In March and April, South Korea shed light on the North Korean human rights issue as a major pillar of its North Korea policy. On March 30, the Ministry of Unification published a report on the reality of human rights abuses in North Korea in an effort to contribute to the promotion of human rights there, as well as strengthening international cooperation on North Korean human rights issues.36 The 450-page report contains about 1,600 cases of human rights violations that North Korean defectors experienced, witnessed, and heard about, including executions, human trafficking, and compulsory detention. Unification Minister Kwon Young-se noted that the report was the first public report by the South Korean government since the enactment of the 2016 North Korea Human Rights Act, highlighting the effort as a critical part of the country’s road map for unification.37

Stressing the importance of the universal value of human rights, Segye Ilbo urged the Yoon administration to make the improvement of human rights in North Korea a national agenda and strengthen cooperation with the international community.38 Hankook Ilbo envisaged that tensions in the Korean Peninsula would continue to escalate as the South raised the sensitive human rights issue that would draw anger from the Kim Jong-un regime.39 This view proved to be true when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution on North Korea’s human rights abuses on April 4.

The resolution, adopted at the 52nd regular session of the Human Rights Council, condemned widespread and systematic human rights violations in North Korea. Welcoming the UNHRC decision to adopt the resolution, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscored that the country joined the effort to draft the resolution and adopt it by consensus for the first time in five years.40 North Korea firmly rejected the resolution. Han Tae-song, North Korea’s ambassador to the Permanent Mission of the UN, denounced the resolution as a “political conspiracy,” which was irrelevant to improving human rights but aimed at overthrowing the North Korean government.41

On April 7, North Korea did not respond to calls from South Korea through the inter-Korean communication lines. Pyongyang’s silence was considered an ominous sign, which presaged its offensive actions against the South. Kukmin Ilbo saw it as a reaction against the recent ROK-US joint military drills held in March and the UNHRC resolution on North Korean human rights issues.42 In an interview with Kyunghyang Shinmun, Hong Min noted that South Korea provoked “the Achilles heel” that North Korea hated the most by publishing the public report on North Korean human rights, joining the effort to adopt the UNHRC resolution, and holding the ROK-US-Japan trilateral meeting to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue.43

In contrast, Nam Sung-wook explained that Seoul and Pyongyang attached different meanings to the inter-Korean communication lines. While South Korea regards the inter-Korean routine calls as a means to prevent contingencies, North Korea has been using it as a barometer to show its actions against South Korea to have the upper hand on the peninsula. Therefore, he argued when North Korea remains unresponsive, South Korea should not fluctuate between hopes and fears but strengthen its ability to prevent and respond to the North’s unexpected threats.44

North Korea’s ICBM Launch on April 13

In April, North Korea unveiled various new weapons systems, including its unmanned underwater nuclear drone “Haeil-2” and a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “Hwasong-18.” In addition, Kim Jong-un ordered the launch of Pyongyang’s first military reconnaissance satellite as planned, foreshadowing that the tension on the Korean Peninsula would continue to escalate ahead of Yoon’s visit to Washington.45 Among North Korea’s diversifying weapons systems, its April 13 ICBM test was particularly striking because the new type of solid-fuel ICBM posed a multifaceted threat to South Korea.

North Korea’s solid-fuel ballistic missile flew about 1,000 km before landing in the East Sea. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the maximum altitude was lower than 6,000 km, the peak altitude of Hwasong-17 launched on March 16.46 The National Security Council (NSC) strongly denounced North Korea’s “grave violation” of UN Security Council resolutions and a provocation that raises tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. During the meeting presided by South Korea’s new National Security Advisor Cho Tae-yong, the NSC stated that Pyongyang’s ICBM launch on April 13 proved the importance of the ROK-US joint military drills and the trilateral information sharing between Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo.47

As Yoon’s state visit to Washington drew near, major media outlets urged the government to strengthen the ROK-US cooperation to prepare countermeasures against North Korea. Hankook Ilbo called on Yoon for reaffirmation of solid countermeasures against North Korea, including US extended deterrence.48 Dong-a Ilbo argued that a comprehensive strategy was needed to contain North Korea in all directions, including diplomacy and the economy.49 On the contrary, Hankyoreh remained cautious regarding the ROK-US-Japan information sharing, which could lead to a “de facto military alliance.”50

Joongang Ilbo addressed two major concerns over the escalating tensions between the two Koreas.51 First, it argued that South Korea should check whether the North’s solid-fuel missiles with high speed and stealth would cause a breach in the South’s “Three-Axis” defense system, which consists of a Kill Chain, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR). Unlike a liquid-fuel missile, which takes time to refuel, a solid-fuel ICBM can be loaded and launched quickly. Thus, concerns were raised over whether South Korea’s Kill Chain aimed at a preemptive strike could effectively respond to the North’s missile launch.52  

Second, with the veto of China and Russia at the UN Security Council, the international community would not be able to speak with one voice to condemn North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. As expected, with the opposition from China and Russia to introduce new sanctions against North Korea, the UN Security Council failed to take any action against North Korea’s April 13 ICBM launch but highlighted the deepening rift between the ROK-US-Japan and North Korea-China-Russia.53 Hankyoreh saw it as the end of an era when the US and China cooperated in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.54 With the intensifying US-China competition on the Korean Peninsula, Kyunghyang Shinmun argued, the Yoon administration should pursue pragmatic diplomacy because resolving the North Korean nuclear issue requires not only a strong ROK-US alliance but also China’s cooperation.55

ROK-Japan Relations

Moving Forward with Japan

On March 6, the South Korean government unveiled a proposal to compensate the victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor by using funds from domestic companies to support a public foundation. The objective is to improve the strained bilateral relations between the two countries in recent years.56 The framework of the solution is based on Korean companies that have benefited from the Agreement on the Settlement of Problem concerning Property and Claims and the Economic Cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Japan, providing compensation to the victims first.57 The Japanese government will then take the position of inheriting the discourse of past governments regarding historical issues. In addition, as part of an agreement aimed at resolving the issue of compensation for Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor, South Korea and Japan have tentatively agreed to establish a "future youth fund" that would provide scholarships for students. The fund will be jointly created by the Federation of Korean Industries, which is South Korea’s major business association, and the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren).58

The family of Jeong Sang-hwa, who had filed a lawsuit regarding forced labor during the colonial period, acknowledged the necessity of the proposed third-party compensation approach before Yoon Suk-yeol’s visit to Japan and the South Korea-Japan summit.59 Munhwa Ilbo editorialized that the statement conveys the idea that resolving the issue of forced labor compensation is vital for improving South Korea-Japan relations, and that it is necessary to put an end to the political exploitation of "anti-Japanese sentiment."60

On March 16, the two leaders held a summit at the prime minister’s residence in Tokyo, about which Yoon stated, "this has a special meaning of letting the people of both countries know that the difficult relationship between South Korea and Japan due to various current issues is starting anew," while Prime Minister Kishida stated that he "is very pleased that the opportunity has come to open a new chapter in the relationship between South Korea and Japan for the future." The two governments reached an agreement to revive shuttle diplomacy that had been initiated during the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2004, but had been halted in 2011. Additionally, they agreed to retract the export regulations and WTO lawsuit that had been implemented in July 2019, and to remove each other from the whitelist of countries receiving preferential treatment in export control.61

The matter at hand has elicited divergent perspectives among the populace of South Korea. The conservative Seoul Shinmun editorialized that, despite bearing significant political burden, the government’s solution reveals a sense of urgency that normalizing the relationship with Japan, a key partner in Northeast Asia, can no longer be postponed if South Korea aims to continue its economic prosperity amid security threats such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons.62 On the other hand, the progressive Kyunghyang Shinmun pointed out that a solution that lacks direct compensation from Japanese defendant companies and a formal apology from the Japanese government cannot be considered a complete solution. Kyunhyang Shinmun added that the essence of the forced labor solution lies in its substance, not the agreement itself and, while enhancing ties with Japan is important, it must be accompanied by sincere introspection regarding historical issues.63

Divided political opinion was generated regarding the visit itself. While some see this visit as successful, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea criticized the summit outcome, denouncing it as a humiliating diplomatic failure that unilaterally accepted Japan’s demands.64 In its editiorial, Kyunghyang Shinmun denounced the visit as a diplomatic disaster, highlighting that it was an embarrassing solution that did not succeed in securing the participation of Japanese war crime companies in compensating the victims and delivering a sincere apology to them.65 On the other hand, the conservative Chosun Ilbo editorial lauded Yoon’s political fortitude, highlighting the reinstatement of "shuttle diplomacy" after a 12-year hiatus and the cultivation of personal trust between South Korea and Japan as the most significant accomplishments of the meeting.66 The general consensus was that it is necessary to focus on efforts aimed at easing the emotional distress and pain of the victims and their families. Moreover, there was a common opinion that Japan should demonstrate a more genuine response to the solutions presented by South Korea and that it is crucial to maintain consistent emphasis on the importance of actively working towards improving the relationship between the two countries.67 

Japanese Textbook Controversies

In April, South Korea’s efforts to improve its bilateral relations with Japan, including the Yoon-Kishida summit and Seoul’s compensation plan for victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor, were overshadowed by Japan’s approval of controversial textbooks for elementary school students. On March 28, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology approved 149 textbooks for the year of 2024. As some of the newly approved textbooks modified descriptions of Japan’s colonial misconduct, watering down the forced mobilization under Japanese colonial rule and reinforcing its sovereignty claim over Dokdo,68 major media outlets criticized Japan for pouring cold water on the efforts of the South Korean government, raising concerns over the further deterioration of the bilateral relationship.69

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged strong protests with Japan over approving new textbooks, which contained “unreasonable claims about Dokdo.” It stated that any claims made by Japan regarding Dokdo were “unacceptable.” At the same time, the Foreign Ministry urged that Japan should show more responsibility in educating future generations, whose historical awareness would be critical for constructive and future-oriented relations between the two countries.70

There was broad agreement amongst media outlets on the existing imbalance of efforts between Seoul and Tokyo. Kukmin Ilbo criticized that Japan was taking steps one after another that worsened ROK-Japan relations instead of responding to the South Korean government’s efforts.71 Echoing this view, Maeil Kyungjae strongly criticized that Japan’s distortion of history was an “irresponsible act that trampled on the relationship between two countries.”72 Chosun Ilbo noted that it was only an illusion to believe that Japan would be moved by Yoon’s generous concession and apologize for historical issues.73 Therefore, Dong-a Ilbo argued that the Korean government should strongly demand corrections until the Japanese government shows a sincere attitude.74

In contrast, Kyunghyang Shinmun criticized the Yoon administration’s “repeated concessions to Japan,” including its normalization of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), withdrawal of a WTO complaint against Japan’s export curbs, and reinstatement of the whitelist.75 Hankyoreh chimed in, arguing that it would leave a dark cloud hanging over other issues, on which Japan might demand further concessions, such as the release of Fukushima water into the ocean, the comfort women issue, and the 2018 radar lock-on dispute.76

Russia-Ukraine War

President Yoon’s Remarks on the War in Ukraine and the Taiwan Issue

In April, Yoon Suk-yeol’s remarks on the ongoing war in Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan became the subject of heated discussion in and out of Korea. In an interview with Reuters, Yoon left the door open for South Korea’s military support to Ukraine for the first time. In addition, he noted the Taiwan issue as a “global issue” rather than a bilateral issue between Beijing and Taipei, pointing out that a unilateral attempt to “change the status quo by force” is the source of tensions over the Taiwan Strait.77

Yoon’s remarks aroused anger in both Russia and China. Russia warned that Seoul’s arms supply to Kyiv would turn the country into a “participant in the conflict,”78 warning that any decision to provide weapons to Ukraine would not only have a negative impact on bilateral relations but also change Russia’s policy on the Korean Peninsula.79 With the harsh response from Beijing, ROK-China relations were put on ice immediately. On April 20, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that China would “not allow opinions from others” when it comes to the Taiwan issue, denouncing Yoon’s remarks on the Taiwan Strait.80 Calling it a “diplomatic discourtesy,” South Korea summoned Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming and lodged a strong protest against spokesperson Wang’s remarks.81

Concerning the mention of possible arms supplies to Ukraine, Dong-a Ilbo saw it as a result of mounting pressure from the West and the upcoming ROK-US summit. However, it also noted, despite the need to strengthen US extended deterrence and support for Ukraine, the safety of our citizens and businesses are above all important.82 Expressing regret over Russia’s “broad interpretation,” Kukmin Ilbo said Yoon’s remarks were merely hypothetical, meaning that South Korea took appropriate measures based on its relationships with the warring parties for now.83 Hankook Ilbo urged the government to be mindful of the fact that, in line with the recently leaked US confidential documents, there are suspicions that South Korea has changed its position on arms support to Ukraine by yielding to pressure from the US and NATO.84 Joongang Ilbo chimed in, arguing that important policies, such as military support, should be accompanied by efforts to listen to public opinion and gain public support in advance.85

With respect to the exchange of harsh words between Seoul and Beijing, Hankook Kyungjae lashed out at the Chinese spokesperson’s remarks as the epitome of Chinese “wolf-warrior” diplomacy that threatens the other country with “undiplomatic” words.86 Kyunghyang Shinmun shed light on the possible spillover effect of Yoon’s remarks on South Korea’s bilateral relations with Russia and China. In an interview with Kyunghyang Shinmun, Kim Seon-rae explained that  arms support to Kyiv could give Moscow an excuse to expand its military aid to Pyongyang, which would intensify the confrontation between the ROK-US-Japan and North Korea-China-Russia.87

1. “Leaked Documents Reveal Depth of U.S. Spy Efforts and Russia’s Military Struggles,” The New York Times, April 8, 2023,

2. “대통령실 ‘필요시 美에 합당조치 요청…왜곡세력, 국민저항 직면,’” Joongang Ilbo, April 10, 2023,

3. “기밀 문건, 한국은 ‘상당수 위조’ 미국은 ‘일부가 조작돼’…커지는 의문,” Hankook Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

4. “민주당 ‘CIA 도청, 명백한 주권 침해…보안 사고 진상조사를,’” Hankyoreh, April 10, 2023,

5. “이재명 ‘미국 도청 사실이면 한·미동맹 훼손 사태, 미국 사과 촉구,’” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 11, 2023,

6. “김병주 ‘대통령실, 미군기지 옆 졸속이전…도·감청 무방비 상태,’” Joongang Ilbo, April 10, 2023,

7. “野 ‘미 감청, 대통령실 졸속이전 탓’ 용산 ‘靑보다 보안 탄탄,’” Joongang Ilbo, April 10, 2023,

8. “與 ‘美감청 문건, 적국 가짜뉴스 가능성’… 野 ‘어떤 부분이 위조됐는지 공개하라,’” Dong-a Ilbo, April 13, 2023,

9. “美 정보 기관 한국 도청 파문, 재발 방지 약속 받아내야,” Segye Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

10. “미 정보기관 도청 폭로됐는데 지나치게 신중한 정부,” Kukmin Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

11. “美 감청, 엄정 대응하되 동맹 이간 의도 경계해야,” Seoul Shinmun, April 11, 2023,

12. “‘도청’에 주권침해 당하고도 미국 눈치보는 대통령실,” Hankyoreh, April 10, 2023,

13. “‘위조된 정보라 문제없다’는 대통령실, 도청은 눈감는 건가,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 11, 2023,

14. “미국은 도·감청 해명하고, 동맹에 악영향 없도록 해야,” Joongang Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

15. “감청에 뚫린 대통령실… 취약한 보안인프라 보강 서둘러야,” Dong-a Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

16. “국가 간 정보 전쟁엔 동맹 없고 앞으로도 그럴 것, 우리 능력 키워야,” Chosun Ilbo, April 11, 2023,

17. “윤 대통령, 4월26일 바이든 만난다…12년 만에 ‘국빈 방문,’” Hankyoreh, March 7, 2023,

18. “윤 대통령 美 국빈 방문, 북핵·반도체 문제에 성과 내기를,” Kukmin Ilbo, March 9, 2023,

19. “강제동원 해법 한 달 만에 미 국빈 방문하는 윤 대통령,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, March 8, 2023,

20. “신중해야 할 대통령의 외교 언사···취지 오해받는 일 없도록,” Joongang Ilbo, April 26, 2023,

21. The White House, “Washington Declaration,” April 26, 2023,

22. “핵우산 강화한 ‘워싱턴선언’, 한미 안보동맹 도약 계기 되길,” Maeil Kyungjae, April 26, 2023,

23. “미 핵우산 한층 강화한 워싱턴 선언,” Seoul Shinmun, April 27, 2023,

24. “한·미 ‘핵협의 그룹’ 창설, 북핵 확장억제 업그레이드 계속돼야,” Segye Ilbo, April 27, 2023,

25. “한미 핵 협의그룹 창설, ‘韓 핵 족쇄’는 강화됐다,” Chosun Ilbo, April 27, 2023,

26. “핵 억지 강화 ‘워싱턴 선언’…첫 공동문서 실행이 중요하다,” Joongang Ilbo, April 27, 2023,

27. “한-미 핵협의그룹, 실효 높이되 외교공간 포기는 안돼,” Hankyoreh, April 26, 2023,

28. “北김정은 ‘올해 알곡고지 기어이 점령해야’…전원회의 종료,” Yonhap News, March 2, 2023,

29. “아사자 속출하는 북한, 고집 꺾고 인도주의 지원 요청해야,” Joongang Ilbo, March 1, 2023,

30. “北, 동해상으로 ICBM 발사…한일정상회담 겨냥,” Segye Ilbo, March 16, 2023,

31. “윤 대통령 출국 2시간40분 전…북 ICBM 도발,” Joongang Ilbo, March 17, 2023,

32. “北, 핵탄두 공중폭발 시연 ‘기폭작동’…김정은 참관후 한 말이,” Maeil Kyungjae, March 20, 2023,

33. “北 대남 핵공격 노골화… 압도적 대응태세 갖춰야,” Seoul Shinmun, March 21, 2023,

34. “남한 핵타격 전술 훈련까지… 북의 고립만 자초할 뿐이다,” Kukmin Ilbo, March 21, 2023,

35. “핵위협 높이는 북·중·러, 한·미·일 ‘핵억제 협의체’ 서둘라,” Segye Ilbo, March 27, 2023,

36. Ministry of Unification, “정부의 첫 『2023 북한인권보고서』 공개 발간,” March 30, 2023,

37. “통일부, ‘공개처형’ 담은 북한인권보고서 첫 공개 발간…‘국내외 활용,’” Hankyoreh, March 30, 2023,

38. “北 인권보고서 첫 공개, 동포의 고통 더는 외면해선 안 돼,” Segye Ilbo, March 30, 2023,

39. “공개처형, 생체실험… 북한인권보고서가 전하는 충격적 실상,” Hankook Ilbo, March 31, 2023,

40. “유엔 인권이사회, 北인권결의안 채택…한국 공동제안국 복귀,” Yonhap News, April 4, 2023,

41. “유엔 인권이사회, 북한 인권결의안 채택…한국 공동제안국 복귀,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 4, 2023,

42. “북한이 심상치 않다…핵어뢰 시험하고, 남북통신선에 ‘무응답,’” Kukmin Ilbo, April 9, 2023,

43. “북한, 남북 통신선 일방적 차단···인권·개성공단 ‘아킬레스건’ 자극됐나,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 10, 2023,

44. “북한 통신선 차단에 연연해하지 말자,” Hankook Ilbo, April 17, 2023,

45. “북한 정찰위성 1호기 발사 임박… 4월 26일 한미정상회담 겨누나,” Hankook Ilbo, April 19, 2023,

46. “북, 신형 탄도미사일 첫 시험발사…고체연료 ICBM 가능성,” Yonhap News, April 13, 2023,

47. “조태용, 北 중거리 이상 미사일 도발에 긴급 NSC 상임위 주재,” Chosun Ilbo, April 13, 2023,

48. “北, 신형 ‘고체연료 탄도미사일’ 발사…3축 체계 무력화 위기,” Hankook Ilbo, April 14, 2023,

49. “새 ICBM 쥔 김정은 ‘극도의 공포’… 위협 전방위 봉쇄책 세워야,” Dong-a Ilbo, April 15, 2023,

50. “한-미 정상회담서 한·미·일 정보 공유 ‘속도전’ 우려,” Hankyoreh, April 16, 2023,

51. “한·미 정상회담서 획기적 핵억지책 내놓길,” Joongang Ilbo, April 15, 2023,

52. “북 신형 탄도미사일 발사…고체연료 땐 韓 3축방어체계 ‘흔들,’” Seoul Shinmun, April 13, 2023,

53. United Nations, “As Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Increases Missile Launches, Inaction Has Left Pyongyang Unconstrained, Senior Official Tells Security Council,” April 17, 2023,

54. “북 고체연료 ICBM 발사, 차원 달라진 위기,” Hankyoreh, April 13, 2023,

55. “벽 높아지는 한·미·일 대 북·중·러, 실용외교 할 때다,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 18, 2023,

56. “외교부 ‘韓정부 산하 재단이 日전범기업 대신 강제징용 배상금 지급,” Hankook Ilbo, March 6, 2023,

57. “정부, 오늘 ‘제3자 변제’ 강제징용 배상해법 공식 발표,” Yonhap News, March 6, 2023,

58. “한·일 기업 공동 ‘미래청년기금’ 만든다,” Joongang Ilbo, March 6, 2023,

59. “강제징용 유족 3인 ‘日 용서 힘들지만 이제는 매듭짓자,’” Chosun Ilbo, March 15, 2023,

60. “징용 유족 ‘일제 만행 용서 힘들지만 이젠 매듭지을 때,’” Munhwa Ilbo, March 15, 2023,

61. “셔틀외교 복원한 한일 정상… ‘새 시대 열겠다,’” Segye Ilbo, March 17, 2023,

62. “강제동원 해법, 아쉽지만 한일 미래 디딤돌 돼야,” Seoul Shinmun, March 6, 2023,

63. “배상 아닌 ‘공동기금’·사과 대신 ‘담화 계승’, 해법 아니다,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, March 5, 2023,

64. 민주당 “기시다와 폭탄주 마신 게 성과?…독도 언급 이실직고해야,” Hankyoreh, March 19, 2023,

65. “가해자에 ‘면죄부’ 준 윤 대통령, 외교참사 어찌 책임질 텐가,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, March 17, 2023,

66. “경제·안보 성과 얻은 한·일 정상회담, 숙제도 산적,” Joongang Ilbo, March 18, 2023,

67. “강제징용 대법원 판결 관련 해법 발표 이후의 한일관계: 전망과 과제,” The Asan Institute for Policy Studies Issue Briefs, March 13, 2023,

68. “임진왜란부터 일제 징병까지…가해 역사 흐리는 日교과서,” Yonhap News, March 28, 2023,

69. “한국 내민 손에 찬물 뿌린 일본…‘역사교과서 왜곡’ 강화,” Kukmin Ilbo, March 28, 2023,; “또 불거진 日 교과서 악재… 물꼬 튼 한일관계 짓눌러,” Hankook Ilbo, March 29, 2023,

70. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “일본 초등학교 교과서 검정 결과에 관한 외교부 대변인 성명 – 日, 교과서 통한 부당한 역사·영토주장 멈추고 책임있는 행동으로 역사 직시해야,” March 28, 2023,

71. “실망스러운 일본 교과서 서술, 역사 왜곡에는 양보 없어야,” Kukmin Ilbo, March 29, 2023,

72. “한일관계 개선노력에 찬물 끼얹는 일본 교과서의 역사왜곡,” Maeil Kyungjae, March 29, 2023,

73. “日 교과서 역사 왜곡, 日에 섣부른 기대 말고 냉정한 국익 외교를,” Chosun Ilbo, March 29, 2023,

74. “日 초등교과서 ‘강제 징용’ 삭제… 정상회담 한 지 얼마 됐다고,” Dong-a Ilbo, March 28, 2023,

75. “일본 ‘왜곡 교과서’에 뒤통수 맞은 한국의 ‘강제동원 면죄부,’” Kyunghyang Shinmun, March 28, 2023,

76. “백기투항 외교 뒤 돌아온 ‘독도는 일본땅’ 교과서 왜곡,” Hankyoreh, March 28, 2023,

77. “Exclusive: South Korea’s Yoon opens door for possible military aid to Ukraine,” Reuters, April 19, 2023,

78. “Kremlin: South Korean arms for Ukraine would signify involvement in conflict,” Reuters, April 19, 2023,

79. “러시아 ‘한국의 어떤 우크라이나 무기 제공도 적대행위로 간주,’” Hankook Ilbo, April 20, 2023,

80. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China, “2023年4月21日外交部发言人汪文斌主持例行记者会,” April 21, 2023,

81. “중국 ‘대만문제 말참견’ 한국 ‘외교결례’ 싱하이밍 불러 항의,” Joongang Ilbo, April 21, 2023,

82. “‘우크라 군사 지원’ 시사… 파장까지 신중히 헤아렸을까,” Dong-a Ilbo, April 21, 2023,

83. “尹 국빈 방미, 한·미동맹 70주년에 걸맞은 성과 내기를,” Kukmin Ilbo, April 21, 2023,

84. “‘우크라 무기지원’ 후폭풍… 한반도 안보 영향 없게 수습해야,” Hankook Ilbo, April 21, 2023,

85. “우크라이나 무기 지원 시사 발언, 과장과 왜곡은 금물,” Joongang Ilbo, April 21, 2023,

86. “‘전쟁 개입 말라’ ‘말참견 말라’는 러·중, 이들을 역성드는 野,” Hankook Kyungjae, April 20, 2023,

87. “‘우크라 군사 지원 가능성’ 내비친 한국…한-러 관계 어디로?” Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 21, 2023,

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