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  • Author: Douglas Paal, Charles Glaser, Shyu-tu Lee
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: MISREADING CHINA'S INTENTIONS Shyu-tu Lee According to Charles Glaser, the prospects for avoiding war between the United States and China are good ("Will China's Rise Lead to War?" March/April 2011). But by ignoring China's history and economic policy and other relevant factors, Glaser arrives at policy prescriptions that would increase the chance of a Chinese nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland. Glaser misjudges Chinese motives. China's military modernization is not primarily motivated by insecurity, as he asserts. China is not threatened by the United States or any of its neighbors. It is advocating its model of governance -- managed capitalism combined with one-party authoritarianism -- as a more efficient alternative to a free-market economy and democracy. China's mission is to regain its place as the dominant superpower so that the country can cleanse itself of the humiliation it has experienced at the hands of the West. The rise of China poses grave challenges to U.S. security. Beijing implements a mercantilist trade policy and artificially sets a low value on its currency to promote exports, thus creating a large U.S. trade deficit with China year after year. Its army has been modernizing at a rapid pace, developing anti-access, area-denial weapons and cyber- and space-warfare capabilities. Meanwhile, China wants to integrate Taiwan because its democracy threatens Beijing's autocratic and repressive rule. In addition, Beijing needs Taiwan as a military base from which to project power into the Indian and Pacific oceans. To keep the peace, the United States must discard the culture of excessive deference to Beijing and implement policies to maintain U.S. military superiority, stanch the flow of U.S. wealth to China, steer China toward democratization, strengthen its alliances with Japan and South Korea, and engage China in an economic and strategic dialogue to promote fair trade and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Park Geun-hye
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 15, 1974, South Korea's Independence Day, I lost my mother, then the country's first lady, to an assassin acting under orders from North Korea. That day was a tragedy not only for me but also for all Koreans. Despite the unbearable pain of that event, I have wished and worked for enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula ever since. But 37 years later, the conflict on the peninsula persists. The long-simmering tensions between North and South Korea resulted in an acute crisis in November 2010. For the first time since the Korean War, North Korea shelled South Korean territory, killing soldiers and civilians on the island of Yeonpyeong. Only two weeks earlier, South Korea had become the first country outside the G-8 to chair and host a G-20 summit, welcoming world leaders to its capital, Seoul. These events starkly illustrated the dual reality of the Korean Peninsula and of East Asia more broadly. On the one hand, the Korean Peninsula remains volatile. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea, the modernization of conventional forces across the region, and nascent great-power rivalries highlight the endemic security dilemmas that plague this part of Asia. On the other hand, South Korea's extraordinary development, sometimes called the Miracle on the Han River, has, alongside China's rise, become a major driver of the global economy over the past decade. These two contrasting trends exist side by side in Asia, the information revolution, globalization, and democratization clashing with the competitive instincts of the region's major powers. To ensure that the first set of forces triumphs, policymakers in Asia and in the international community must not only take advantage of existing initiatives but also adopt a bolder and more creative approach to achieving security. Without such an effort, military brinkmanship may only increase -- with repercussions well beyond Asia. For this reason, forging trust and sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula represents one of the most urgent and crucial tasks on Asia's list of outstanding security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Richard Katz, Michael Spence
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT Richard Katz A decade ago, the great American jobs train fell off its tracks. Traditionally, boosts in private-sector employment have accompanied recoveries from economic downturns. In the first seven years after the beginning of the 1980 and 1990 recessions, for example, the number of private-sector jobs increased by 14 percent. Yet in January 2008, seven years after the previous pre-recession peak and before the most recent recession began, private-sector jobs were up only four percent. Today, for the first time in the postwar era, there are fewer of these jobs than there were ten years before. Ignoring the overall dearth of jobs, Michael Spence (“The Impact of Globalization on Income and Unemployment,” July/August 2011) singles out the fraction of employment in sectors related to trade. He claims that China and other developing countries have taken U.S. jobs and blames globalization for the substantial increase in income inequality across the country. It is misleading, he says, to argue that “the most important forces operating on the structure of the U.S. economy are internal, not external.” He is wrong: the fault lies not in China or South Korea but at home.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: China, America, South Korea
  • Author: George R. Packard
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 19, 1960, Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and U.S. Secretary of State Christian Herter signed a historic treaty. It committed the United States to help defend Japan if Japan came under attack, and it provided bases and ports for U.S. armed forces in Japan. The agreement has endured through half a century of dramatic changes in world politics -- the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the spread of nuclear weapons to North Korea, the rise of China -- and in spite of fierce trade disputes, exchanges of insults, and deep cultural and historical differences between the United States and Japan. This treaty has lasted longer than any other alliance between two great powers since the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Given its obvious success in keeping Japan safe and the United States strong in East Asia, one might conclude that the agreement has a bright future. And one would be wrong. The landslide electoral victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) last August, after nearly 54 years of uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, has raised new questions in Japan about whether the treaty's benefits still outweigh its costs. LABOR PAINS Back in 1952, when an earlier security treaty (which provided the basis for the 1960 treaty) entered into force, both sides thought it was a grand bargain. Japan would recover its independence, gain security at a low cost from the most powerful nation in the region, and win access to the U.S. market for its products. Without the need to build a large military force, Japan would be able to devote itself to economic recovery. The United States, for its part, could project power into the western Pacific, and having troops and bases in Japan made credible both its treaty commitments to defend South Korea and Taiwan and its policy of containment of the Soviet Union and communist China.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Richard C. Levin
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The rapid economic development of Asia since World War II -- starting with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, then extending to Hong Kong and Singapore, and finally taking hold powerfully in India and mainland China -- has forever altered the global balance of power. These countries recognize the importance of an educated work force to economic growth, and they understand that investing in research makes their economies more innovative and competitive. Beginning in the 1960s, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan sought to provide their populations with greater access to postsecondary education, and they achieved impressive results. Today, China and India have an even more ambitious agenda. Both seek to expand their higher-education systems, and since the late 1990s, China has done so dramatically. They are also aspiring to create a limited number of world-class universities. In China, the nine universities that receive the most supplemental government funding recently self-identified as the C9 -- China's Ivy League. In India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development recently announced its intention to build 14 new comprehensive universities of "world-class" stature. Other Asian powers are eager not to be left behind: Singapore is planning a new public university of technology and design, in addition to a new American-style liberal arts college affiliated with the National University. Such initiatives suggest that governments in Asia understand that overhauling their higher-education systems is required to sustain economic growth in a postindustrial, knowledge-based global economy. They are making progress by investing in research, reforming traditional approaches to curricula and pedagogy, and beginning to attract outstanding faculty from abroad. Many challenges remain, but it is more likely than not that by midcentury the top Asian universities will stand among the best universities in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea
  • Author: Arne Duncan
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S. students now compete throughout their careers with their peers in other countries. But thinking of the future as a contest among countries vying to get larger pieces of a finite economic pie is a recipe for protectionism and global strife. Instead, Americans must realize that expanding educational attainment everywhere is the best way to grow the pie for all.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: America, South Korea