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  • Author: Kan Kimura, Koji Kagotani, Jeffrey R. Weber
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Since its democratization, South Korea's foreign relations with Japan have become increasingly volatile. We investigate the diversionary incentives behind these fluctuations in South Korean foreign policy during 1988–2011. We show evidence that, similar to mature democracies, economic turmoil is driving Korean leaders to divert the public attention toward low-intensity disputes against Japan. However, unlike mature democracies, our results reveal that public approval ratings and national elections do not encourage leaders to engage in the diversionary behavior due to South Korean domestic political institutional settings and party system. These findings highlight challenges to foreign policy making in a new democracy, an issue that has not been considered in detail in the literature. We conclude that although historical antagonism and US commitment to East Asia may affect the Japan–South Korea relationship, economic diversionary incentives significantly determine the fluctuations in Japan–South Korea disputes
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Many debates about engagement with North Korea hinge on the precise nature of North Korea's foreign economic relations: whether trade and investment are on commercial or non-commercial terms; the extent of illicit activities, and the changing geographic patterns of North Korea's trade. This article provides an effort to reconstruct North Korea's foreign economic relations, subordinating our estimates to the discipline of the balance of payments accounting framework. Among the most salient findings for the debate about engagement and sanctions is that North Korea's trade and investment have continued to increase despite the onset of the nuclear crisis and a decline in illicit activities. This growth has occurred in part because of the growing weight of China and South Korea in trade, aid, and investment. We also find that economic relations between North and South Korea have a substantially greater non-commercial component than those occurring across the China–North Korea border.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, South Korea, North Korea