Country Report: South Korea (February 2023)


Marking the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war, the regional division around the Korean Peninsula, the US-led alliances on one side and North Korea-China-Russia on the other, has further deepened, drawing a grim picture of a changing international environment. In January and February, North Korea’s continued missile threat, especially its launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on February 18, led to South Korea’s two strands of a strategy to strengthen its security cooperation with the United States and Japan. With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the credibility of US extended deterrence, Seoul and Washington strove to strengthen military ties by staging joint air drills involving US strategic bombers and stealth fighters. At the same time, with the need to counter North Korean nuclear and missile threats as a common denominator, South Korea exerted an effort to promote relations with Japan. However, with Japan’s muted response to South Korea’s plan to compensate the victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor, it remains to be seen whether the stalled bilateral relations could reach a breakthrough. As for China, bilateral relations went sour when South Korea’s COVID restrictions on travelers from China were met with a stern response. Although both sides lifted their COVID restrictions in February, the changing international situation, including US-China tensions over the spy balloon incident, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s plan to visit Moscow, seem to leave them no prospect of any near-term improvement of relations.

War in Ukraine

First Anniversary of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
On February 20, US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reaffirmed that the US military, economic, and humanitarian support would be continued.1 After the US announcement of additional military aid to Ukraine worth $460 million, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the country’s participation in the nuclear arms control pact, New START Treaty, putting the “only safety valve” that had prevented a reckless nuclear race between the US and Russia in jeopardy.2

One year into the Ukraine war, no end is in sight. In the eyes of domestic media outlets, the ongoing war in Ukraine showed how the new Cold War has deepened not only in Europe but also on the Korean Peninsula. Hankook Ilbo noted, “The battlefield is far away in Europe, but it is evident that the unstable situation on the Korean Peninsula has a strong correlation with the war,” indicating North Korea took advantage of the war to strengthen its solidarity with Russia and China by providing weapons to Russia and increasing trade with China to stand against South Korea, the United States, and Japan.3 Hankook Kyungjae pointed out that China’s top foreign policy official Wang Yi’s visit to Moscow reflected China’s motive to use Russia as leverage to create a favorable environment in the US-China competition, which would further deepen divides along the “geopolitical fault lines.”4 Segye Ilbo raised concerns over Xi Jinping’s plan to visit Moscow, where China’s military support to Russia could be discussed. In that case, it said, “The new Cold War is sure to become more entrenched.”5

ROK-US Relations

President Yoon’s Remark on “Joint ROK-US Nuclear Exercises”
In January, when Biden flatly denied the existence of a ROK-US discussion on joint nuclear planning and exercises, which President Yoon Suk-yeol had mentioned in a New Year’s interview with Chosun Ilbo, Seoul and Washington had to clarify the meaning of “joint planning and execution” against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, lest it is considered a rift between the allies. In the interview, Yoon said there was an ongoing discussion between South Korea and the United States on their “joint planning” and “joint exercise” of US nuclear assets. He stressed that the concepts of “nuclear umbrella” and “extended deterrence” aimed at deterring the Soviet Union and China in the past could no longer meet heightened public expectations.6 Expressing doubt on the feasibility of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Chosun Ilbo called for a shift in the fundamental principle of the country’s North Korea policy from denuclearization to nuclear deterrence.7

However, when asked by reporters whether the US was discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea, Biden said, “No.”8 According to Yonhap News Agency, the White House later noted that what the allies were working on was planning for “an effective coordinated response to a range of scenarios, including nuclear use by North Korea.”9 Based on a statement where Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for press affairs, explained that the term “joint nuclear exercises” is used between nuclear powers, Seoul Shinmun noted that it was a matter of terminology, but in the end, it shed light on the difference between South Korea’s domestic demand beyond extended deterrence and the US position to prevent nuclear proliferation in the region.10

Concerning the intention behind Yoon’s remarks on the ROK-US joint efforts to respond to North Korea’s nuclear threats, domestic media outlets underscored the limits of the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea and the need to curb domestic insecurity stemming from North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. Kukmin Ilbo said relying on the opponent’s goodwill would only result in a weak military readiness posture, which is why South Korea should be deeply involved in the process of operating US nuclear forces.11 In consideration of Kim Jong-un’s recent bellicose rhetoric against South Korea and order for an “exponential” increase in North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, Kyunghyang Shinmun said that Yoon’s remarks were presumed to be aimed at emphasizing the government authorities’ countermeasures against North Korea’s nuclear issues.12 Nevertheless, Dong-a Ilbo urged the government to refrain from raising expectations without sufficient discussions with the ally to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and dissonance.13 Hankyoreh chimed in, stressing that the key lies in an effective response to North Korea’s advanced nuclear capabilities rather than arousing confusion and insecurity.14

At a joint policy briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense on January 11, Yoon said for the first time that if the North Korean nuclear issue continues to get worse, South Korea would consider redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons or development of nuclear weapons of its own.15 Progressive media outlets expressed serious concerns over Yoon’s remark as it might trigger nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia. Calling Yoon’s comments “very infelicitous,” Hankyoreh urged the government to focus on elaborating realistic measures to strengthen US extended deterrence.16 Likewise, Kyunghyang Shinmun complained that the Yoon administration should seek a broader solution, including diplomatic efforts, rather than invoking vengeance on North Korea, which might turn the Korean Peninsula into a center of an arms race.17 Echoing this view, Dong-a Ilbo stressed the importance of increasing the effectiveness of ROK-US joint efforts to respond to North Korea’s nuclear threats, including the Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-top Exercise (DSC TTX).18 In contrast, Chosun Ilbo argued that the nuclear threat from the North was the only reason South Korea might consider developing its own nuclear weapons. With China sitting on its hands and the US remaining lukewarm, it noted, South Korea could only explore more reliable means to deter North Korean nuclear weapons.19

ROK-US Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Seoul

Kicking off the 70th anniversary year of ROK-US relations, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held their first meeting of the year in Seoul on January 31 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat, the US extended deterrence, and ROK-US joint military drills.20 Both sides agreed to expand the scope and scale of the ROK-US combined exercises, reflect changes in the security environment, including North Korea’s attempts to advance its nuclear and missile weapons program, and strengthen regional security cooperation, especially ROK-US-Japan trilateral security cooperation.21

Austin’s visit was considered an effort to assuage Seoul’s concerns over the US extended deterrence commitment. However, some concerns remained. Segye Ilbo introduced the results of a survey by the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, where over 77% of South Koreans supported the country’s development of nuclear weapons, as proof of public suspicion over US extended deterrence. It said, “No matter how good an agreement is, if it does not lead to action, it is no better than a piece of paper.”22 In contrast, Kyunghyang Shinmun argued that nuclear armament was not the path South Korea should choose, highlighting the need to focus on ways to strengthen deterrence against North Korea, including extended deterrence, and diplomatic efforts to secure peace.23 Raising concerns over causing a rift between Seoul and Washington, Hankook Ilbo urged the government to refrain from exploring tough policies beyond its strategy of maximizing US cooperation.24

North Korea

Pyongyang’s January 1 SRBM Launch
In January, the two Koreas kicked off the New Year by exchanging increasingly bellicose rhetoric heralding further escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. At the end of December 2022, North Korea held the 6th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, where its leader Kim Jong-un noted that North Korea’s nuclear force will carry out its second mission when the first mission to deter war and maintain peace and stability fails, stressing that the second mission would “definitely be something other than defense.”25 As North Korea’s state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, Kim Jong-un underlined the importance and necessity of producing large quantities of tactical nuclear weapons and exponentially increasing the number of nuclear warheads to counter its “obvious enemy” South Korea.26 Kim Jong-un’s remark was followed by Pyongyang’s launch of a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), which landed in the East Sea after flying about 400km on the first day of 2023.

In response to Kim Jong-un’s vow to “make 2023 a year of transition in preparation for war mobilization and enhancement of actual warfare capabilities,” Yoon Suk-yeol urged the military to resolutely retaliate against any provocation with the determination to fight against the enemy.27 In its press release, the Ministry of National Defense warned that the North’s nuclear threat undermined peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, warning that if North Korea attempts to use nuclear weapons, the Kim Jong-un regime will face collapse.28

With regard to Pyongyang’s motives behind its hostile messages and continued missile launches, Dong-a Ilbo noted that it sought a breakthrough by taking a hard line against South Korea and the US while adhering to China and Russia.29 Hankook Ilbo criticized North Korea’s apparent intention to induce a ROK-US military response and use it as an excuse for a further provocation.30 While acknowledging the perilousness of North Korea’s nuclear threat, Joongang Ilbo shed light on the recklessness of North Korea’s aggressive nuclear policy, which requires an astronomical budget and, in the end, weakens its economy already long suffering from economic sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.31

The mutual accusations and recriminations between the two Koreas raised concerns over a new arms race and destabilization of the Korean Peninsula. Hankyoreh lashed out at Pyongyang’s “misjudgment” that its bellicose rhetoric and threats could justify the efforts to pour all its resources into its nuclear and missile programs. It concluded that the North Korean nuclear threat would only strengthen the military cooperation between Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo and make public opinion tilt toward possessing South Korea’s own nuclear weapons and an arms race.32 To prevent tensions from spiraling out of control, Kyunghyang Shinmun urged the Yoon administration to refrain from responding to North Korea tit for tat but make multifaced efforts to find an exit from the power-to-power confrontation.33 In contrast, Hankook Kyungjae noted that Yoon’s tough stand on North Korea, highlighting the significance of “overwhelmingly superior war preparations,” was correct in consideration of North Korea’s introduction of the latest strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), hypersonic missiles, and multiple rocket launchers.34

75th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Korean People’s Army

On the evening of February 8, North Korea held a military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, showcasing a Hwasong-17 ICBM and a transporter erector launcher with a new solid fuel ICBM.35 Seoul immediately criticized North Korea’s “illegal nuclear and missile development and reckless nuclear threat,” urging Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table. In the daily briefing on February 9, Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the North wasted valuable resources for a massive mobilization despite the country’s worsening food shortages and economic difficulty.36 Echoing this view, Seoul Shinmun noted that North Korea’s crop yield in 2022 was 4.51 million tons, 180,000 tons less than in the previous year, foreshadowing that the North was at the brink of the worst food shortage since the Arduous March in the 1990s.37 With that in mind, Kukmin Ilbo foresaw that Pyongyang would attempt to draw attention by using the regular ROK-US joint military drills as the pretext for launching various missiles and attempting provocations.38

In contrast to expectations that Kim Jong-un would send an offensive message to South Korea and the US, he remained muted and silent. Hankyoreh noted that North Korea might not feel the need to talk with South Korea and the US but intended to strengthen its nuclear and missile capabilities and overcome economic difficulties through its relations with China and Russia.39 Segye Ilbo paid attention to the presence of Kim Jong-un’s daughter Kim Ju-ae at the military parade, urging the government to keep a close eye on the possibility of the fourth generation succession and maintain a watertight security posture against North Korea’s potential nuclear provocation.40

North Korea Labeled as “Enemy” in South Korea’s 2022 Defense White Paper
On February 16, the Ministry of National Defense released its first defense white paper under Yoon Suk-yeol.41 Reflecting major shifts in South Korea’s approach to the North Korean threats and its bilateral relations with Japan, the 2022 Defense White Paper described North Korea as an “enemy” for the first time in 6 years while addressing Japan as a “close neighbor country” with which South Korea would build cooperative relations for their common interests. Since the concept of an enemy or main enemy in the defense white paper indicates the South’s view on its security environment and inter-Korean relations, the reappearance of North Korea as an “enemy” in the 2022 white paper reflected South Korea’s North Korea policy and could be viewed as heightening tensions between the two Koreas.

Major media outlets paid close attention to the pendulum-like trajectory of inter-Korean relations reflected in the defense white papers. As Yonhap News Agency reported, the concept of “main enemy” was first mentioned in the biennial defense white paper in 1995 after North Korea had threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.” With the rapprochement of the two Koreas in the early 2000s, the “enemy” was replaced by the “direct military threat.” However, following the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, the Lee Myung-bak administration noted in its 2016 defense white paper that “the North Korean regime and the North Korean army are enemies.” The phrase was replaced with “We regard forces that threaten and infringe upon our sovereignty, land, people, and property as our enemies” under the Moon Jae-in administration.42

With the introduction of South Korea’s “three-axis” system and extended deterrence, the 2022 Defense White Paper also highlighted the significance of the ROK-Japan defense cooperation. Segye Ilbo underscored that, unlike the 2018 and 2020 defense white papers, the Yoon administration’s white paper noted that Japan is a country with which South Korea “shares values.”43 Kyunghyang Shinmun said the 2022 Defense White Paper conveyed the Yoon administration’s willingness to strengthen military information sharing and to improve its relations with Japan.44

Hankyoreh explained two divergent opinions on specifying North Korea as an enemy in the defense white papers. It said the conservatives emphasized clarifying the enemy to strengthen the country’s national security and criticized the previous Moon administration that had removed such words in the 2018 and 2020 defense white papers. On the other hand, it is also argued that pointing to an “enemy” or “main enemy” could harm the national interest by narrowing the scope for strategic maneuver in foreign relations.45 In this sense, Kyunghyang Shinmun warned that words do not guarantee the country’s security posture, especially when North Korea is not only an enemy of South Korea but also a partner in dialogue and peaceful unification.46 In contrast, Maeil Kyungjae editorialized that considering North Korea’s military threats, including its launch of unmanned aerial vehicles over Seoul and ballistic missile tests, addressing North Korea as an enemy was a natural consequence and should be maintained regardless of regime change.47

North Korea’s ICBM and SRBM launches
In February, with its launch of multiple ballistic missiles, North Korea continued to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. On February 18, North Korea fired a Hwasong-15 ICBM that flew 989 km with a maximum altitude of 5,768 km. In her statement released the next day, Kim Yo-jong, the deputy director of the Publicity and Information Department of the Workers’ Party, ascribed regional instability to extended deterrence and the ROK-US combined defense posture. The North’s ICBM launch was seen as an effort to shift responsibility to Seoul and Washington for the escalating tension on the peninsula and to define its saber-rattling as a “commensurate, strong, and overwhelming response.”48

Foreign Minister Park Jin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, visiting Germany for the Munich Security Conference, strongly condemned North Korea for violating UN Security Council resolutions. Highlighting the importance of the trilateral cooperation to counter North Korean nuclear and missile threat, Park Jin warned that North Korea would face tougher sanctions from the international community and nothing would be gained from provocations.49 After North Korea had fired two short-range ballistic missiles that each flew 390 km and 340 km toward the East Sea on February 20, South Korea, the US, and Japan carried out trilateral ballistic missile defense drills in the East Sea, hinting at further security cooperation between the three countries.50

Kukmin Ilbo explained that North Korea advanced its dual strategy of threatening Seoul by continuing test launches of SRBMs, hypersonic missiles, and cruise missiles while neutralizing the US extended deterrence commitment to South Korea by firing ICBMs targeting Washington.51 Likewise, Segye Ilbo warned that North Korea’s strategy was aimed at isolating South Korea while driving a wedge between Seoul and Washington.52 However, Joongang Ilbo underscored that North Korea’s provocation would only strengthen thr ROK-US alliance and ROK-US-Japan security cooperation.53 Considering the worsening food shortage in North Korea and the ROK-US tabletop exercise (TTX) to enhance joint deterrence against North Korea, Seoul Shinmun said the North’s continued provocations would end up threatening itself.54

Taking North Korea’s development of nuclear and missile programs seriously, Chosun Ilbo warned that its development of the solid fuel engine for ICBMs could shake the foundations of the ROK-US missile defense plan.55 In addition, Hankuk Kyungjae called for an “effective and overwhelming response” against North Korea, including the resumption of the General Security Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to enhance military cooperation with Japan.56 On the contrary, Hankyoreh argued that without a mediator or a buffer zone, the government should control conflict and extend diplomatic efforts to prevent accidental clashes.57 Kyunghyang Shinmun expressed the same concern based on observing repeated tit for tat moves between North Korea, South Korea, and the United States, deepening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Calling it a “chicken game,” Kyunghyang Shinmun said that they were driving each other into a corner without any channel of communications.58

ROK-China Relations

China’s “Retaliatory” Suspension of Issuing Short-term Visas
In the wake of China’s reopening after three years of isolation, South Korea imposed new rules for visitors departing from China, including suspending short-term visas issued in China to prevent the risk of imported COVID-19 infections. Calling it “discriminatory,” China announced its decision to halt issuing short-term visas for South Korean visitors. On January 10, the Chinese embassy in South Korea said on its official WeChat account that its suspension of visas could be adjusted depending on whether South Korea lifts its “discriminatory entry restrictions” against China.59 However, China’s call for reciprocity was met with severe criticism in South Korea.

In the daily briefing, Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that the government had continued to communicate with China through diplomatic channels, expressing regret over China’s decision to stop issuing short-term visas to South Korean individuals.60 Chosun Ilbo warned that China’s retaliatory response would fuel global anti-China sentiment.61 Expressing concern over the impact of China’s entry restrictions on those who planned to visit their families in China and search for job opportunities, Seoul Shinmun insisted that China first withdraw its retaliatory measures and provide transparent information and restore trust with its neighbors.62 Hankyoreh noted that China’s “excessive and unreasonable response” was reminiscent of its economic coercion against South Korea’s deployment of THAAD in 2016, urging China to learn the lessons that left for the bilateral relationship.62 On the contrary, Kyunghyang Shinmun interpreted the Chinese embassy’s message as Beijing’s reluctance to aggravate the situation, arguing that the government should manage conflicts through diplomatic channels.64

A month later on February 11, as South Korea resumed short-term visa issuance for travelers from China, China’s corresponding measures followed.65 In response to South Korea’s decision to lift COVID restrictions on travelers from China, Mao Ning, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “South Korea took a step in the right direction by reducing obstacles hindering cross-border travel between the two countries.”66 On February 15, the Chinese embassy in Seoul announced its plan to resume issuing short-term visas for visitors from South Korea.67

ROK-Japan Relations

Compensation Plan for Victims of Japan’s Wartime Forced Labor
In January, the South Korean government unveiled its compensation plan for victims of forced labor under the Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, which would allow a third party to make payments as legal bonds instead of enforcing Japanese companies’ direct compensation. Following the announcement, Seoul and Tokyo held two director-general-level meetings raising expectations of a breakthrough on the intractable issue. However, as it remained uncertain whether or not the Japanese companies would join the plan to donate funds and the Japanese government would issue an official apology, the plan was strongly criticized by the victims and their families in South Korea.

On January 12, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a public debate to discuss the compensation plan for Japan’s wartime forced labor. Seo Min-jung, director general of the Asia and Pacific Bureau in the foreign ministry, explained the plan was to designate a third party, the Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan, as the principal agent of the subrogation payment. She added, as the Japanese companies already withdrew their assets from Korea to avoid forced payment, it was uncertain whether all plaintiffs would be able to receive compensation.68 Thus, the feasible solution was to raise funds from South Korean companies which benefited from the 1965 Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims between the Republic of Korea and Japan, such as POSCO, while remaining open to repayment from Japanese companies.69 Four days after the public hearing, Seo Min-jung visited Tokyo to meet her Japanese counterpart Funakoshi Takehiro and stressed the importance of Japan’s engagement in the compensation plan.70 Before another working-level meeting held in Seoul on January 30, Park Jin also said that it was desirable for Japanese companies to voluntarily and sincerely respond to the plan with a sense of history.71

The government’s efforts to untangle the complex tensions with Japan received contradictory responses from the public and media. Joongang Ilbo underscored the importance of South Korea’s efforts to advance the compensation plan with Japan because, it said, “security cooperation with Japan is an important factor of South Korea’s security at a time when the North Korean nuclear threat and the US-China strategic competition are intensifying.”72 However, as the victims and their families strongly urged the government to ensure the Japanese companies’ sincere apology and compensation, Hankyoreh argued that the Yoon administration’s “impatience” to strengthen military and diplomatic cooperation with Japan could result in the repetition of the 2015 South Korean-Japanese Agreement on “Comfort Women,” being a dead letter, given the victims’ protest.73 Kyunghyang Shinmun echoed this view, highlighting the importance of domestic efforts to get the victims’ consent on the compensation plan.74 Hankook Ilbo warned that the government’s hasty negotiations without ensuring the Japanese companies’ participation would only intensify the conflicts between two nations in the end.75 Furthermore, Maeil Kyungjae criticized the Japanese government’s aloofness,76 and Segye Ilbo called for a decision by the Japanese government to issue a sincere apology and for the participation in the compensation plan of Japanese firms, especially Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.77

ROK-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Munich

On February 18, Park Jin met with Hayashi Yoshimasa on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC). During their 35-minute meeting, both sides exchanged opinions on major issues of mutual interest, including North Korea’s military provocations, ROK-US-Japan security cooperation, and compensation for South Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor.78 Unlike the security issues on which both sides soon reached consensus, the compensation issue remained unresolved with no near-term prospect of conclusion.

The South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers agreed to continue strengthening close communications, bilateral cooperation, and trilateral cooperation among South Korea, Japan, and the United States. As Pyongyang test fired a long-range ballistic missile (LRBM) on the same day, both sides condemned North Korea’s violation of the UN Security Council resolution and a serious provocation that increased tension on the Korean Peninsula and also in the region.79 As South Korea, the US, and Japan held trilateral ballistic missile defense drills on February 22, Joongang Ilbo argued that South Korea and Japan should take the joint military exercise as an opportunity to resolve the issue of compensation for forced labor under Japanese colonial rule.80

However, a gap persists. While the South Korean government emphasizes the need for a “sincere response” such as Japan’s apology and participation in the compensation plan suggested by the Yoon administration in January, the Japanese government maintains its position that the issue had already been resolved with the 1965 agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property and claims and on economic co-operation.81 Domestic media outlets highlighted Park Jin’s call for the Japanese government’s “political decision,” expressing concern over the absence of a common denominator in the negotiations. According to Dong-a Ilbo, Park told reporters after the meeting, “Since both sides understood each other’s position through honest conversation, now only a political decision is needed.”82 Yet when he was asked about the Japanese government’s position on Park’s remarks on the issue, Hayashi refrained from “commenting on every single statement made by the Korean side.”83

Despite expected further discussions, Maeil Kyungaje noted that the conflicts would continue over the nature of an apology, including its expression, method, and subject.84 Dong-a Ilbo underlined that the ball was in Japan’s court and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fmio’s final decision would be critical to overcoming the final hurdle of the compensation issue.85 Echoing this view, Hankook Ilbo editorialized that if South Korea-Japan security cooperation is emphasized while dismissing the compensation issue as a stumbling block, even if Yoon’s first Tokyo summit takes place, it will fall into the shade.86

1. “Statement from President Joe Biden on Travel to Kyiv, Ukraine,” The White House, February 20, 2023,

2. “푸틴, ‘핵무기 감축 협정’ 중단 선언…핵카드로 미국 압박,” Hankyoreh, February 21, 2023,

3. “우크라 전쟁 1년… 한반도에도 선명해진 신냉전 구도,” Hankook Ilbo, February 22, 2023,

4. “바이든, 우크라이나 전격 방문…신냉전 확전에 한반도 위험도 높아진다,” Hankook Kyungjae, February 21,

5. “우크라전 1년… 中, 러 무기 지원 시 신냉전만 고착화할 것,” Segye Ilbo, February 21, 2023,

6. “尹대통령 ‘美 핵전력, 한미 공동으로 기획·연습하겠다’,” Chosun Ilbo, January 2, 2023,

7. “美 핵우산 한계 지적 尹대통령, 더 창의적 해법 찾아야,” Chosun Ilbo, January 3, 2023,

8. “Biden says U.S. not discussing nuclear exercises with South Korea,” Reuters, January 3, 2023,

9. “S. Korea, U.S. not discussing joint nuclear exercises: White House,” Yonhap News Agency, January 3, 2023,

10. “바이든, 한미 공동 핵연습 논의 부인하자 양국 정부 긴급 진화,” Seoul Shinmun, January 3, 2023,

11. “북핵 대응할 실질적 핵억지력 확보에 총력 기울여야,” Kukmin Ilbo, January 4, 2023,

12. “윤 대통령, 한미 핵 공조와 더불어 긴장 완화책도 모색해야,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 3, 2023,

13. “한미 ‘공동 核 연습’ 혼선… 성급한 기대보다 탄탄한 논의를,” Dong-a Ilbo, January 4, 2023,

14. “혼선 부추긴 윤 대통령의 경솔한 ‘핵 공동연습’ 발언,” Hankyoreh, January 3, 2023,

15. “윤 대통령 ‘北도발 심각해지면 전술핵 배치·자체 핵 보유 가능’,” Hankook Kyungjae, January 11, 2023,

16. “윤 대통령의 무책임한 “핵보유” 발언, 현실적 해법에 집중해야,” Hankyoreh, January 13, 2023,

17. “핵보유까지 언급한 윤 대통령, 긴장 조성은 걱정 안 하나,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 12, 2023,

18. “尹 ‘자체 핵 보유할 수도’… 韓美 확장억제 강화가 먼저,” Dong-a Ilbo, January 13, 2023,

19. “한국 대통령의 사상 첫 ‘자체 핵 보유’ 언급이 갖는 의미,” Chosun Ilbo, January 13, 2023,

20. “한미, 연합연습·훈련 확대 강화…대규모 화력시범도 시행,” 대한민국정책브리핑, January 31, 2023,

21. “韓美, 내달 대북 확장억제 연습 실시…한미일 안보회의 시행,” Dong-a Ilbo, January 31, 2023,

22. “美 ‘한·미 확장억제 합의 철통같다’, 행동으로 보여줘야,” Segye Ilbo, January 31, 2023,

23. “미국이 재확인한 확장억제, 평화 유지의 한 요소일 뿐이다,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 31, 2023,

24. “韓美국방 ‘확장억제 강화’…북핵 대응 균열 더는 없도록,” Hankook Ilbo, February 1, 2023,

25. “김정은 ‘핵탄 보유량 기하급수적 늘려라’…전원회의 보고,” Yonhap News Agency, January 1, 2023,

26. “北 김정은 ‘핵탄 보유량 기하급수적 늘릴 것’,” Dong-a Ilbo, January 1, 2023,

27. “윤 대통령 ‘일전 불사한다는 결기로 도발에 응징해야’,” Hankook Ilbo, January 1, 2023,

28. “국방부 ‘북한 핵사용 기도하면 김정은 정권은 종말’ 경고,” Yonhap News Agency, January 1, 2023,

29. “김정은 ‘南 전역을 전술핵 사정권에’… 軍 상응하는 대비하나,” Dong-a Ilbo, January 2, 2023,

30. “새해 첫날, 대남 핵무력 협박 나선 김정은,” Hankook Ilbo, January 2, 2023,

31. “우리를 ‘명백한 적’으로 규정한 북한, 단호하게 대비하자,” Joongang Ilbo, January 2, 2023,

32. “더욱 위험한 남북 관계 예고한 김정은의 핵 위협,” Hankyoreh, January 1, 2023,

33. “핵 위협 노골화한 북한, 강 대 강 대치 출구 찾아야,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 1, 2023,

34. “새해 첫날부터 도발한 북한…압도적 힘만이 평화를 담보한다,” Hankook Kyungjae, January 1, 2023,

35. “北열병식에 신형 ‘고체 ICBM’ 등장…‘최대 핵공격능력 과시,’” Yonhap News Agency, February 9, 2023,

36. “외교부, 北열병식에 ‘경제난에도 전시성 대규모 동원 개탄,’” Yonhap News Agency, February 9, 2023,

37. “미사일에 목맨 김정은, 체제 위기만 키울 뿐이다,” Seoul Shinmun, February 10, 2023,

38. “핵·미사일 과시해 최악의 식량위기 덮어 보려는 김정은,” Kukmin Ilbo, February 10, 2023,

39. “김정은 딸 중심에 세우고 핵·ICBM 과시한 북한,” Hankyoreh, February 9, 2023,

40. “딸 데리고 열병식 참관한 김정은, 벌써 후계구도 굳히나,” Segye Ilbo, February 10, 2023,

41. “「2022 국방백서」 발간,” 대한민국정책브리핑, February 16, 2023,

42. “‘북한정권과 북한군은 적’ 6년 만에 부활…2022 국방백서 발간,” Yonhap News Agency, February 16, 2023,

43. “尹 정부 첫 국방백서 발간… ‘北=주적’ 표현 6년 만에 부활,” Segye Ilbo, February 17, 2023,

44. “국방백서, 일본 ‘가까운 이웃’ 명시…‘가치 공유 국가’ 격상도,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, February 16, 2023,

45. “윤 정부 첫 국방백서…‘북한 정권·군은 적’ 살리고 ‘일본, 가까운 이웃,’” Hankyoreh, February 16, 2023,

46. “첫 국방백서에서 북한을 적으로 기술한 윤석열 정부,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, February 16, 2023,

47. “‘북한은 적’ 명시한 尹정부 첫 국방백서 국가안보의 정상화다,” Maeil Kyungjae, February 16, 2023,

48. “김여정 ‘ICBM, 서울 겨냥 안 해…남조선것들과 상대 않는다,’” Kyunghyang Shinmun, February 19, 2023,

49. “한미일 외교장관 뮌헨안보회의서 北 탄도미사일 발사 공동 규탄,” Dong-a Ilbo, February 19, 2023,

50. “한미일, 독도인근 공해상서 미사일방어훈련…北ICBM 대응,” Yonhap News Agency, February 22, 2023,

51. “또 시작된 북 ICBM 도발… 속셈은 한·미동맹 균열에 있다,” Kukmin Ilbo, February 20, 2023,

52. “ICBM 쏜 뒤 ‘남조선 상대 안 해’, 한·미동맹 이간질하는 北,” Segye Ilbo, February 19, 2023,

53. “식량난 와중에 북한 또 ICBM 도발…협박은 무용지물,” Joongang Ilbo, February 20, 2023,

54. “北 또 ICBM 도발, 정녕 체제위기 자초할 셈인가,” Seoul Shinmun, February 19, 2023,

55. “ICBM 실전 배치 끝낸 北, 우리에게 남은 선택지는 뭔가,” Chosun Ilbo, February 20, 2023,

56. “ICBM으로 고강도 도발 신호탄 쏜 北…’압도적 대응력’이 답이다,” Hankuk Kyungjae, February 19, 2023,

57. “한미 훈련 앞 ICBM 쏜 북, 벼랑 끝 정세 관리 절실하다,” Hankyoreh, February 19, 2023,

58. “전술핵 대남 사용 노골화한 북, 즉각 독자 제재 맞선 남,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, February 20, 2023,

59. “중국, 한국인 단기비자 전면 중단…입국규제 보복조치,” Yonhap News Agency, January 10, 2023,

60. “정부, 中 한국민 단기비자발급 중단에 ‘유감…외교채널 소통,’” Yonhap News Agency, January 10, 2023,

61. “전세계가 방역 강화하는데, 한·일만 콕 집어 보복한 중국,” Chosun Ilbo, January 11, 2023,

62. “협량하기 짝이 없는 중국의 韓 단기비자 중단 보복,” Seoul Shinmun, January 10, 2023,

63. “‘한국 비자발급 중단’ 중국, 코로나정보 제대로 밝혀야,” Hankyoreh, January 10, 2023,

64. “유감스러운 한·중 ‘방역 갈등’ 외교소통 강화해야,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 10, 2023,

65. “중국 ‘18일부터 한국인 단기비자 발급 재개,’” Kyunghyang Shinmun, February 15, 2023,

66. “2023年2月10日外交部发言人毛宁主持例行记者会,” Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Korea, February 10, 2023,

67. “中 18일부터 한국인 단기비자 발급 재개,” Kukmin Ilbo, February 16, 2023,

68. “정부 ‘재단이 日기업 대신 판결금 지급 가능’…징용해법 공식화,” Yonhap News Agency, January 12, 2023,

69. “강제징용 ‘제3자 변제안’ 쟁점은…‘또 다른 법적 분쟁 낳을 것,’” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 18, 2023,

70. “韓, 국장협의서 국내 여론 전달…’호응조치’ 공은 일본에,” Yonhap News Agency, January 16, 2023,

71. “한일 외교당국, 오늘 서울서 국장협의…징용해법 ‘日호응’ 주목,” Yonhap News Agency, January 30, 2023,

72. “한·일, 징용 문제 해결로 북핵·동북아 위기 대처해야,” Joongang Ilbo, January 3, 2023,

73. “‘한일관계 조급증’에 강제동원 피해자 뜻 외면 말아야,” Hankyoreh, January 12, 2023,

74. “한국 기업이 돈 내는 강제동원 해법, 밀어붙여선 안 돼,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 12, 2023,

75. “국내기업 강제동원 배상금 대납, 이게 창의적 접근인가,” Hankook Ilbo, January 13, 2023,

76. “강제징용 해법 강건너 불구경 하는 일본의 무책임한 태도,” Maeil Kyungjae, January 12, 2023,

77. “日 사죄 없고, 가해 기업 빠진 강제동원 해법 안 된다,” Segye Ilbo, January 12, 2023,

78. “한일 외교장관회담(2.18) 결과,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

79. “박진-하야시 ‘만났다’ …뮌헨서 논의 주체 높여 ‘강제동원’ 해법 협의,” Seoul Kyungjae, February 19, 2023,

80. “한·미·일 미사일 방어 훈련, 한·일 관계 정상화 계기 되길,” Joongang Ilbo, February 23, 2023,

81. “강제징용 담판? 박진 ‘얘기 다 했다, 日 정치적 결단 촉구,’” Seoul Shinmun, February 19, 2023,

82. “한일 외교장관, 뮌헨서 강제징용 해법 집중 논의… 박진 “日측에 정치적 결단 촉구,” Dong-a Ilbo, February 19, 2023,

83. “한일 강제징용 후속협의 전망…외교장관, 내주 G20서 또 만날듯,” Yonhap News Agency, February 21, 2023,

84. “박진, 한일 강제징용 협상 ‘막바지 단계,’” Maeil Kyungjae, February 20, 2023,

85. “韓日 정상 ‘강제동원’ 결단 없인, 북핵 대응 틈새 못 메운다,” Dong-a Ilbo, February 21, 2023,

86. “강제징용 막바지 협상, 일본은 전향적 해법 내놔야,” Hankook Ilbo, February 18, 2023,

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