In his latest book, titled Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations9781107133310, Dr. Van Jackson looks at the troubled history of US-North Korean affairs from the 1960s through 2010. According to the title’s publisher, Rival Reputations evaluates how past incidents and crises can help determine threat credibility and the willingness of an adversary to resort to violence.

Jackson is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, where he specializes in several fields, including Korean and Japanese affairs, and U.S.-Asia relations.


Jackson’s book answers some of the most vexing questions regarding both U.S. and North Korean foreign policy. These include how they have managed to evade war, why North Korea – a much weaker power – has not been deterred by superior American military power from repeated violent provocations against the United States and South Korea, and why US officials in every administration have rarely taken North Korean threats seriously.

“Van Jackson urges us to jettison the conventional view of North Korean threats and violence as part of a ‘cycle’ of provocation and instead to recognize them as part of a pattern of rivalry inherent in North Korea’s foreign relations.”

The author surveys patterns of crisis, coercion and credibility in US-North Korea relations and includes historical case studies from archival research. He proposes a new framework for formulating policy toward North Korea. Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations is published by Cambridge University Press.

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The views expressed in this book are the authors’ and not necessarily the views of DKI APCSS, U.S. Pacific Command or the U.S. Government.