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  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Political structure
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Economic structure, Charts and tables, Monthly trends charts
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Economy, Background, Fact sheet
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Outlook, Forecast, Overview
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Economy, 5-year summary, Key indicators
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Outlook, Briefing sheet
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Background, Forecast, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Basic Data, Economy, Background
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: With a new Democratic administration, Washington is almost certain to moderate its demands that Japan and South Korea pay more for American forces on their soil. This should ease tensions with Seoul to Tokyo. To strengthen security relations with Japan and South Korea, though, more will be required. Rather than simply increase their conventional military deployments, Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo will need to collaborate in new ways to enhance allied security. This will entail working more closely on new military frontiers, such as enhancing allied command of outer and cyber space as well as in underwater warfare. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo will also want to carve out new functional areas of cooperation to make existing energy sources more secure, communications more reliable, data sharing easier and safer, and allied economic assistance to developing nations in strategic zones more effective. Enhanced collaboration in each of these areas has begun but is not yet locked in or fully institutionalized. It should be. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo need one another to deal with China and North Korea. Yet, how each currently strategically views Beijing and Pyongyang differs. Nor is America’s preferred military approach to deterring Chinese and North Korean adventurism — by preventing Beijing and Pyongyang from projecting military strikes against their neighbors — all that easy to achieve. Adding new, more tractable items to America’s Asian security alliance agenda won’t immediately eliminate these misalignments. But it will strengthen the security ties they have as liberal democracies — bonds Beijing and Pyongyang are straining to fray.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, International Security, Military Affairs, Cyberspace, Nuclear Energy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), with the generous support of the Korea Foundation, organized six “Vision Group” roundtable conversations with leading American scholars and commentators to discuss the United States’ relationship with the Republic of Korea. The first was held in December 2019, the last in November 2020. The intent was to consider the future of relations during a time of change. The Vision Group comprised a wide range of expertise and opinion. This record conveys some of the insights and recommendations that arose during the conversations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Maximilian Ernst
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper examines South Korea’s foreign policy towards China before, during, and after the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense dispute to investigate the limits of South Korea’s public diplomacy and soft power. South Korea’s official public diplomacy has the objective to “gain global support for Korea’s policies,” following Joseph Nye’s narrow definition of soft power. South Korea furthermore ranks high in the most relevant soft power indices. Based on the case of Chinese economic retaliation against South Korea in response to THAAD deployment, this paper argues that public diplomacy and soft power only work in the absence of traditional security contentions, but fail in the presence of such security contentions. The THAAD case also demonstrates the utility of traditional diplomacy, based on high-level summits and negotiations, to solve the very disputes that South Korea’s latent public diplomacy and soft power were unable to alleviate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Weapons
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Andrew Yeo
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the U.S.-South Korea alliance in the context of Asia’s evolving security architecture. At the crux of the issue is the Biden administration’s desire to uphold the rules-based international order by reinforcing the network of inter-Asia alliances and multilateral institutions, on one hand, and the Moon government’s relative reluctance to deepen and expand security ties linked to an Indo-Pacific strategy that counter-balances China, on the other hand. Leveraging the existing alliance relationship, the Biden administration should encourage Seoul to coordinate with other like-minded countries committed to sustaining a rules-based regional order while assisting Seoul in mitigating potential strategic vulnerabilities. Conversely, as a middle power, South Korea must not shy away from the region’s security architecture, but instead actively coordinate with other actors in shaping the region’s strategic environment. By working in concert with other countries in the Indo-Pacific, Seoul can reduce its geopolitical vulnerability while advancing its national and regional interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Prashanth Parameswaran
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy (NSP)—the most recent effort by Seoul to boost relations with Southeast Asian countries and India and diversify its relationships beyond four major powers: China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Yet, at the same time, less of a focus has been placed on how to advance the security aspect of the NSP despite some of the inroads that have been made, as well as the underlying convergences of concerns and interests between South Korea and the countries of Southeast Asia. This paper addresses this gap by providing insights into South Korea’s security ties with Southeast Asia, based on a close analysis of South Korean and Southeast Asian accounts as well as conversations with officials and scholars on both sides. It makes three arguments. First, while South Korea’s efforts to advance security ties with Southeast Asian states as well as with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a bloc may have been met with mixed results so far, the inroads made still deserve attention and are rooted in several domestic, regional, and global drivers. Second, though these security ties create opportunities for Seoul’s relations with ASEAN countries, they also pose challenges that should not be ignored. Third and finally, advancing security relations between South Korea and Southeast Asian countries will require actions not just on the part of Seoul or ASEAN nations, but also other actors.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Troy Stangarone, Juni Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: KEI’s 2021 Report on American Attitudes on the U.S.-ROK Alliance and North Korea Policy summarizes results from a survey commissioned by KEI and conducted by YouGov on May 6th to May 10th, 2021 in advance of the U.S.-ROK summit on May 21st, 2021. The survey asked Americans their views on the U.S.-South Korea relationship, North Korea policy, and the U.S.’ role in the East Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aaron Jed Rabena
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: There are four ways on how the NSP Plus could be further improved. First, to avoid policy limitations and maximize the room for supply chain resiliency and functional cooperation, the coverage of the NSP countries can be expanded apart from ASEAN and India. Second, South Korea can employ the concept of Third-Party Market Cooperation (TPMC) or the pursuit of joint ventures or partnerships with other countries in maximizing capacity-building in third countries (NSP countries). Third, South Korea can help strengthen ASEAN institution-building, regionalism and internal balancing by applying a similar policy framework to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) just as it does to the Mekong Region. Fourth, there needs to be more reciprocity or two-way interaction in the NSP so as to not make it seem that ASEAN is only on the receiving end of South Korean generosity. Finally, it is important to note that a change in the South Korean administration does not necessarily spell the end of the NSP just as the US’ Pivot or Rebalance to Asia of the Obama Administration was remodeled to the Indo-Pacific under the Trump administration.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, South Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sonali Chowdhry, Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: In 2011, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (EUKFTA) entered into force. With its focus on non-tariff barriers (NTBs), it is a leading example of a deep new generation agreement. Using detailed French customs data for the period 2000 to 2016, we investigate how exporters of different size have gained from the agreement. Applying a diff-in-diff strategy that makes use of the rich dimensionality of the data, we find that firms with larger pre-FTA sizes benefit more from the FTA than firms at the lower end of the size distribution, both at the extensive (product) and the intensive margins of trade. The latter finding is in surprising contrast to leading theories of firm-level behavior. Moreover, we find that our main result is driven by NTB reductions rather than tariff cuts. In shedding light on the distributional effects of trade agreements within exporters, our findings highlight the need for effective SME-chapters in FTAs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Tariffs, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea, European Union
  • Author: Michael D Bordo, Mickey D. Levy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The ratcheting up of tariffs and the Fed’s discretionary conduct of monetary policy are a toxic mix for economic performance. Escalating tariffs and President Trump’s erratic and unpredictable trade policy and threats are harming global economic performance, distorting monetary policy, and undermining the Fed’s credibility and independence. President Trump’s objectives to force China to open access to its markets for international trade, reduce capital controls, modify unfair treatment of intellectual property, and address cybersecurity issues and other U.S. national security issues are laudable goals with sizable benefits. However, the costs of escalating tariffs are mounting, and the tactic of relying exclusively on barriers to trade and protectionism is misguided and potentially dangerous. The economic costs to the United States so far have been relatively modest, dampening exports, industrial production, and business investment. However, the tariffs and policy uncertainties have had a significantly larger impact on China, accentuating its structural economic slowdown, and are disrupting and distorting global supply chains. This is harming other nations that have significant exposure to international trade and investment overseas, particularly Japan, South Korea, and Germany. As a result, global trade volumes and industrial production are falling. Weaker global growth is reflected in a combination of a reduction in aggregate demand and constraints on aggregate supply.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Economic Growth, Tariffs, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Erin Engstran, Caitlin Flynn, Meg Harris
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Women make up more than 80 percent of North Korean migrants to South Korea. This paper provides a gendered analysis of their migration and offers recommendations to address the systematic oppression and abuse of North Korean migrant women and girls. Gendered human rights abuses and societal shifts in gender roles due to famine contributed to women leaving in record numbers. On the journey, often via China, women face human trafficking fueled by China’s skewed sex ratios, sexual violence, and the threat of extradition back to North Korea where defectors are imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Even those who successfully complete the journey suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, discrimination, and difficulty adjusting into South Korean society. Interventions and policies must acknowledge the gendered dimension of migration to effectively address the harm North Korean women and girls experience.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Migration, Women, Refugees, Gender Based Violence , Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: China, South Korea, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Tae Yong Jung
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The South Korea case study indicates the co-benefits of air quality and climate change policy, by designing relevant legal and institutional frameworks in a more comprehensive and holistic way.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Law, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Justin Fendos
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This article is the first installment in a two-part series. Unlike South Korea’s centralized approach to contact tracing, other democracies faced legal impediments to similar approaches. The second installment reviews alternative, non-centralized approaches currently being implemented in these countries and their limitations.
  • Topic: Demographics, Science and Technology, Law, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Justin Fendos
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This article is the second installment of a two-part series. It reviews the alternative, non-centralized approaches to contact tracing currently being implemented in many Western democracies. The first installment described South Korea’s centralized approach to contact tracing and the legal impediments to its implementation in other countries.
  • Topic: Demographics, Science and Technology, Law, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Fumiko Sasaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has advanced two trends: the US-China confrontation and the increasing importance of soft power in the networked world. These developments present Japan and South Korea in particular—caught as they are between China and the United States—not only with serious challenges but also a grand opportunity.
  • Topic: Governance, Grand Strategy, Multilateralism, Trade, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Ana González, Euijin Jung
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: By refusing to fill vacancies in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body—the top body that hears appeals and rules on trade disputes—the Trump administration has paralyzed the key component of the dispute settlement system. No nation or group of nations has more at stake in salvaging this system than the world’s big emerging-market economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, among others. These countries have actively and successfully used the dispute settlement system to defend their commercial interests abroad and resolve inevitable trade conflicts. The authors suggest that even though the developing countries did not create the Appellate Body crisis, they may hold a key to unlock it. The Trump administration has also focused its ire on a longstanding WTO practice of giving these economies latitude to seek “special and differential treatment” in trade negotiations because of their developing-country status. The largest developing economies, which have a significant stake in preserving a two-step, rules-based mechanism for resolving trade disputes, could play a role in driving a potential bargain to save the appeals mechanism. They could unite to give up that special status in return for a US commitment to end its boycott of the nomination of Appellate Body members.
  • Topic: Development, Government, World Trade Organization, Developing World, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Brazil, North America, Mexico, Thailand, United States of America
  • Author: Sungchul Park, Hansoo Ko
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Effective as of July 1, 2018, South Korea set a new cap on employees’ weekly working hours, decreasing the maximum number from 68 to 52. In this study, we comprehensively analyze the effectiveness of the law’s implementation by observing changes in work time, health status, health care utilization, health behavior, monthly expenses, and satisfaction between pre- and post-implementation periods (2014–2017 vs. 2019). We find evidence of both intended and unintended consequences—and, in this last category, some are beneficial and some not. As intended, employees eligible for the 52-hour work week saw their average working hours decrease, while their monthly spending on leisure increased substantially. A beneficial unintended consequence was that work time also decreased in firms with less than 300 employees that had not yet implemented the 52-hour work schedule (they have done so since, in January 2020). Among adverse unintended consequences, the most notable were heterogeneous effects across employment types (full-time vs. precarious employment) and, in particular, negative impacts on precarious employees (that is, those facing relatively high levels of job insecurity). Despite almost no change in their work time, precarious employees saw substantial increases in outpatient visits and monthly expenses for health care, indicating suggestive evidence of adverse health consequences. Another adverse unintended consequence was that overall job satisfaction decreased among several groups of employees. This may reflect a heavy workload among employees still expected to work overtime, especially experienced employees or those working in large firms. While employment rates increased after the new schedule’s implementation, the majority were in precarious jobs. This has negative implications because of the adverse health impacts of being in precarious employment; also, the workload of experienced employees in this field might have intensified amid all the new hiring. Our findings suggest key policy recommendations for how to leverage the benefits of the 52-hour cap on weekly working hours while addressing its negative unintended consequences.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With the United States facing two major revisionist powers, Russia and China, as well as additional security threats from North Korea, Iran, and jihadist terrorism, a critical advantage for the United States is its global network of alliances and strategic partners. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy states, “Alliances and partnerships are crucial to our strategy, providing a durable asymmetric strategic advantage that no competitor or rival can match.” The advantage of having military allies and partners is enhanced by the core capacity of the American military having remained largely the same over the past decade, though the global security environment grew more complex and difficult during that time. In short, the United States needs allies and security partners. But the United States needs allies and partners that can pull their weight militarily if the country is going to be able to maintain a favorable balance of power in critical regions of the world. The second edition of A Hard Look at Hard Power provides an in-depth examination of the overall strategic perspective, defense plans, budgets, and capabilities of seven key European and Asian allies, three frontline strategic partners, and NATO.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Terrorism, Budget, Global Security, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Iran, India, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, France, Poland, Germany, Australia, Sweden, United States of America
  • Author: Katherine Bauer, Kevin Mathieson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tehran is pressing Seoul regarding the billions in Iranian oil revenues held by South Korean banks, creating an opportunity to expand the U.S. humanitarian trade mechanism. On July 21, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to lodge a complaint over Tehran’s heightened rhetoric regarding access to funds frozen in South Korea. The week before, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson had accused Seoul of having a “master-servant relationship” with Washington, while the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had previously threatened legal action to access the funds, which Tehran says it plans to use for humanitarian purchases. Although the U.S. government authorized use of the funds for such purposes in February, South Korean banks appear hesitant to move forward without additional U.S. assurances—a reluctance compounded by the $86 million fine that U.S. regulators levied on the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) in April for failing to identify large-scale Iranian money laundering. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the Islamic Republic, Washington should work with Seoul to ensure that trade for medicine, equipment, and other humanitarian items moves forward—albeit with strict oversight.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Trade
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Outlook, Forecast, Finance outlook
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Japan, China, Sudan, Indonesia, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, Canada, India, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Tajikistan, France, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Germany, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Hungary, Australia, Albania, Italy, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mexico, Jordan, Bahrain, Singapore, Tunisia, Chile, Oman, Angola, Zambia, Ghana, New Zealand, Ecuador, Malawi, Namibia, Mauritius, Panama, Belarus, United States of America, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, UK, Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, United Republic of, Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Background, Forecast, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Author: Charles Knight, Lutz Unterseher
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: Varied incremental steps that embody and signal the accumulating commitment to a minimally acceptable common political future for Korea are key to this process. Progressive reduction of cross-border invasion threats through mutual confidence building force restructuring will constitute a virtuous circle of reinforcement for a changed relationship. [Through the] accumulation of the sunk costs of iterative reciprocity North and South Korea will arrive at a point where the demonstrated commitment to smaller restructured military postures is sufficient to allow rapid progress toward a stable level and disposition of arms compatible with a new peaceful political relationship.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korea alliance is a primary deterrent to the threat North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal poses. But the alliance’s nearly singular functional focus on managing the North Korea threat, despite South Korea’s broadly integral role in advancing a rules-based order in the region, has introduced volatility in the bilateral relationship. Washington’s halting and inconsistent approach to Pyongyang and its failure to reach a timely agreement on its military cost-sharing framework with Seoul have nudged the alliance toward a new inflection point. Beyond the North Korea challenge, South Korea has the potential to play a consequential role in advancing the United States’ broader vision for a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. As Seoul adopts globally oriented policies, buoyed by its position at the leading edge of certain technology areas and its successful COVID-19 pandemic response, the United States should parlay these efforts into a more concrete role for South Korea as a partner on the world stage. Collaborating on global public health issues, combating climate change, and jointly developing norms around critical emerging technologies would position the alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century. By widening the aperture of the alliance and positioning Seoul to play an integral role in the United States’ vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific, the two allies will be better equipped to address enduring geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia, including those associated with a nuclear-armed North Korea.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Martijn Rasser, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The South Korean experience is an illustrative case study of digital entanglement with China. This paper focuses on South Korea’s 5G networks for the purposes of scoping, but the spotlight on telecommunications networks offers just one window into a broader trend of technology and economic interdependencies between Seoul and Beijing. In particular, the paper’s focus on 5G illuminates four central observations that could also apply to other technology areas: (1) the U.S.-China strategic competition has wedged South Korea between its most important ally and its largest trading partner; (2) geopolitical risk assessments are not top of mind in South Korea’s technology policymaking calculations; (3) the country’s political leadership largely defers to private industry on the use of Chinese equipment; and (4) South Korean privacy regulations remain relatively fluid and are evolving both to meet domestic pressures and to generate new market opportunities. These trends are evident in the history of South Korea’s economic entanglement with China and the risk of coercion carried with it. Ongoing entanglement with digital infrastructure—and 5G networks in particular—increases the potential for and reach of adverse economic statecraft by Beijing and will make it more difficult and costly to unravel.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future, America’s Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea must live in the shadow of a nuclear North Korea, whose capabilities they cannot match. During the Obama and Trump administrations, North Korea dramatically expanded and improved its ability to hold Japanese, South Korean, and even U.S. territory at risk with its nuclear and missile arsenal.1 Despite high-profile summitry and promises to the contrary, there is no sign that this imbalance will be rectified, and its continuation exacerbates regional risks and ally insecurity.2 The mounting North Korea threat is compounded by poor timing—U.S. policy has proven exceptionally erratic, unreliable, and risk-prone in recent years. The very existence of Japan and South Korea depends on strategies built around a partnership with the United States that has become shaky, and on faith in the competence of U.S. statecraft—which both countries are starting to perceive as a risk rather than a source of security. Ally perceptions of U.S. strategic incompetence generate real costs and risks for the United States and Northeast Asian security. If the United States continues to squander its deepest relationships in Asia, the allies could become rivals with each other, increase risks of nuclear instability, play a spoiler role in U.S. regional strategy, withhold basing and access rights to U.S. forces operating in the region, and potentially take independent aggressive actions against North Korea that unintentionally escalate to war.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: North Korea’s promise to deliver an end-of-year “Christmas gift” went unfulfilled amid signs that the United States wanted to continue diplomacy with the Kim regime. This has led to a continued lull in tensions between the two countries, although actual progress in negotiations remains elusive. With that lack of progress, President Donald Trump has reportedly told his advisers that he does not want another summit with Kim Jong Un before the US presidential election in November. In a survey conducted from January 10–12, 2020, the American public is now less concerned about the threat posed by North Korea, but little else has changed in terms of Americans’ policy preferences to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program. Majorities still oppose airstrikes against North Korea and support long-term military bases in South Korea.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Public Opinion, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The United States and South Korea remain locked in negotiations over the Special Measures Agreement (SMA)—the agreement which formally determines how much South Korea contributes to the financial cost of stationing US troops in South Korea. In the past, these negotiations took place behind the scenes away from the public eye. But keeping details of this round of negotiations private proved difficult when it was disclosed that the United States requested $5 billion dollars, an unprecedented 400 percent increase from the previous year. When the two sides failed to reach a deal by April 1, 4,000 Koreans who work on US bases in South Korea were furloughed. The public attention to these negotiations—and the US request being framed as extortive by Korean media and US analysts—raised concerns that the South Korean public’s positive views of the alliance would be damaged. But just-completed polling by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs suggests that is not the case. Little has changed in terms of South Korean attitudes towards the alliance. The South Korean public remains positive about the alliance, supportive of stationing US troops in South Korea, and confident that the US will defend South Korea if North Korea attacks. But the data also suggests that there are scenarios in which South Korean public confidence could be punctured. Confidence in the US commitment to defend South Korea if attacked by North Korea is strongly related to views that the alliance with the United States is mutually beneficial. This, in turn, implies that the biggest downside risk to support for the alliance stems from actions that would impact US credibility to defend South Korea if North Korea attacks. While a range of actions may trigger a decrease in confidence in US commitment to defend South Korea, one of the most immediate reported to be under consideration is a partial withdrawal of US troops. This move has the potential to shift South Korean attitudes away from seeing the alliance as mutually beneficial and towards views that the alliance benefits only the United States.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces, Alliance, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump presidency has strained relations with several Asian allies, including South Korea. But the 2020 Chicago Council Survey results show that President Donald Trump’s repeated threats and bullying tactics on defense and trade issues with Seoul have done little to soften support among the American public for the alliance with South Korea. In fact, favorable views of South Korea are now at an all-time high.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Ju Hyun Pyun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the effects of domestic output import tariff reduction on domestic plant export dynamics and clarifies the underlying mechanism, using rich plant–product data from the Republic of Korea for 1991–2002. We find that home import liberalisation increases domestic plants’ export market participation (extensive margins), particularly for industry where markup growth is more negative during tariff reductions. However, we do not find evidence that cutting import tariffs significantly affects incumbent home exporters’ export volume (intensive margins). This study unveils a new mechanism – ‘escape competition’ to foreign markets – by showing that reducing import tariffs leads domestic firms under heightened industry competition to look for an opportunity in foreign markets via export inauguration.
  • Topic: Markets, Tariffs, Imports
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Yong-Seok Choi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to investigate whether empirical evidence supports the learning-to-export hypothesis, which has received little attention in the previous literature. By taking full advantage of plant–product level data from the Republic of Korea during 1990–1998, we find some evidence for the learning-to-export effect, especially for innovated product varieties with delayed exporters: their productivity, together with research and development and investment activity, was superior to their matched sample. On the other hand, this learning-to-export effect was not significantly pronounced for the industries protected by import tariffs. Thus, our empirical findings suggest that it would be desirable to implement some policy tools to promote the learning-to-export effect, while tariff protection cannot be justifiable for that purpose.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Clara Gillespie
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Under President Moon Jae-in, South Korea has set an ambitious target to move from being “first in the world” in the race to 5G to “first in global quality.” Yet, while a range of industry and government stakeholders are investing heavily in making this vision a reality, a number of factors are likely to weigh on whether or not these efforts yield significant results. These include uncertainties about how to further accelerate development in ways that lead to better returns on investments, and about how to navigate complex geopolitical considerations, including ongoing debates about Huawei’s involvement in 5G network infrastructure. Each of these areas will, in turn, require domestic stakeholders to make complex assessments about potential tradeoffs and risks. Thus, this paper assesses South Korea’s emerging 5G era at the one-year mark, and highlights key successes, setbacks, and ongoing challenges. Building on these findings, the paper concludes by offering several potential scenarios for future development, and suggestions for ways forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, 5G
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Choong Yong Ahn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea, Asia’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively, established a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2010 and upgraded their relationship to a special strategic partnership in 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s “New Southern” policy and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy share important objectives and values through which Korea and India can maximize their potential to pursue high tech-oriented, win-win growth. Both countries face the great challenge of diversifying their economic partners in their respective geo-economic domains amid newly emerging international geo-economic dynamics as well as rapidly changing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Given the two countries’ excessive dependence on the Chinese market and potential risks and uncertainties involved in the U.S.-China trade war and related security conflicts, South Korea and India need to deepen bilateral linkages in trade, investment, and cultural contacts. South Korea-India cooperation is crucial in promoting plurilateralism, prosperity, and harmony in East Asia. This paper suggests a specific action agenda to fulfill mutual commitments as entailed in the “Special Strategic Partnership” between these two like-minded countries of South Korea and India.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Industry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Both India’s and South Korea’s strategic choices are deeply influenced by the rapidly evolving Indo-Pacific construct, particularly amid a mounting U.S.-China rivalry. With India’s “Look/Act East” policy and South Korea’s “New Southern Policy” offering a perfect stage for deepened mutual cooperation, both nations need to further their relations to build Asia’s future while advancing their respective national interests. With both countries following stringent foreign policies as a result of the actions of their immediate neighbors, they present a geopolitically strategic complementarity for their relationship to prosper and emerge as one of the most important relationships in the region. Seoul’s hesitation to overtly embrace the “Indo-Pacific” concept is not really a barrier; rather a geo-political overture to discard the balance of power politics and pursue an autonomous foreign policy. India’s preference for the “Indo-Pacific” is equally based on strategic autonomy, imbibing universal values and an inclusive regional order. Both countries emphasize a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific and have immense potential to establish security and connectivity partnerships as the keystone of their bilateral ties. With India and South Korea understanding the economic importance versus security ramifications of China, and with Japan’s reemergence as a key regional, if not global actor, both countries need to bring serious strategic intent to their relationship. Making use of the ASEAN platform and bilateral dialogues, South Korea and India have the potential to become one of the strongest Indo-Pacific partners of the 21st century
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Gilbert Rozman, Mark Tokola, Gilbert Rozman, Dmitri V. Trenin, Yuki Tatsumi, Kathryn Botto, Rush Doshi, Scott W. Harold, See-Won Byun, Cheol Hee Park, Brad Glosserman, Charles W. Boustany Jr., Matthew Goodman, Wonho Yeon, Kitti Prasirtsuk
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The experts in this volume have thoughtfully addressed themes that are pervasive throughout Asia and are timely for the U.S.-Korea alliance. With the future of Northeast Asia in flux, political leaders are hoping to transform their respective visions into the path forward for the region. Authors in the first section analyze the frameworks of U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discern the currents underlying geopolitical developments in the region. The second section examines the role of national identity in key bilateral Indo-Pacific relationships where geopolitical fault lines have become clearer. Chapters in this section cover the India-China, U.S.-China, South Korea-China, and South Korea-Japan dyads. The final section provides insights into how several of China’s neighbors and the United States are responding to its economic rise, which, of course, are also guided by strategic concerns. Considering how COVID-19 has exacerbated the rivalry between Washington and Beijing as well as the influence this relationship carries in shaping the future of the region, the contributions here are particularly relevant and timely.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stephanie Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Commentators have pointed to the “Trump Effect” for falling international student enrollment in the U.S. higher education sector. When taking a closer look at student mobility trends from South Korea, however, the facts and figures tell a different story. For the past two decades, South Korea has been consistently the third largest sender of international students to the United States. But the number of South Korean students who study in U.S. higher education had been steadily falling well before the more recent general declines in international student enrollment. What are the underlying causes of this concerning trend? And what are the implications for the United States when such a major contributor of international students wanes? This paper shows how internationalization efforts in the South Korean higher education sector have resulted in the reversal of domestic student outflow from South Korea to the United States that has major implications for bilateral relations between the two countries.
  • Topic: Education, Bilateral Relations, Domestic politics, Freedom of Movement
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Francesca Frassineti, Francesco Sassi
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Moon administration in South Korea has implemented rapid changes to accelerate the decarbonization of the energy sector. While seeking to embrace renewables, Seoul has been relying on the bridging capacity of natural gas—of which it is the world’s third largest importer. In this context, President Moon is also confronted with public discontent over weak emissions goals and inadequate policies to curb the negative effects of climate change. Besides, the socio-economic fallout from the pandemic could hinder the enforcement of environmental measures and loosen restrictions for the sake of an immediate recovery. As Seoul attempts to secure more environmentally-friendly and economically sustainable energy sources, this paper examines the advances and major drawbacks of this policy agenda. By shedding light on the dynamics within the gas sector, the analysis also assesses the viability of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the pillar of this pro-environmental policy shift, including the potential of some LNG-related projects. The paper finds the feasibility of the current goals is challenged by the realities of energy supply stabilization, particularly due to the simultaneous phaseout of coal and nuclear power and the persistent capacity obstacles for renewables to fill this gap. In light of this, the paper advocates for integrated policy measures aimed at improving consistency in implementing national energy policy in tandem with climate change mitigation efforts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Gas, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Wonho Yeon
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper reviews China’s technological rise and assesses whether it poses a threat to the South Korean economy. In terms of comparative advantage between the two countries, many experts have long believed that China’s strength is low-cost labor and Korea’s is technology and capital. However, this has changed as China’s economy grows. Now China has enough capital to invest in its economy. Some scholars even argue that China has the potential to meet its “innovation imperative” and emerge as a driving force in innovation on a global level.1 This paper examines the Korea-China economic relationship from the innovation productivity perspective, organized into sections: briefly introducing the Korea- China economic relationship; describing the technological rise of China, based on recent data; developing the model to analyze the innovation productivity of China and report the estimation results; evaluating the concern of the South Korean semiconductor industry; and presenting conclusions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Cheol Hee Park
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korean views of Japan are neither uniform nor unified. Considering that national strategic identities are competing even within a single country, it is not strange at all that South Koreans have complex and fragmented views of Japan. Depending on their ideological and dispositional orientations, South Koreans hold varying perceptions about Japan. It is much more so in the age of ideological polarization. Not only in the United States, but also in South Korea, identity politics more and more dominate. Widespread social networking service communications made tribal communications, instead of mass communications, permeate the society, which strengthened the trend of polarization. Increasingly people do not cross over ideological divides or social cleavage lines, creating islands of tribes to convince themselves in a particular way. The combination of ideological divide and tribal communications opens an unexplored political domain of contending views in a society. This chapter aims to delineate the development of complex and divided South Korean views of Japan, especially under the Moon administration. It shows South Korea divided within. Then it analyzes the rise of anti-Japanese elements in Moon’s handling of Japan affairs after 2017. Careful analysis of the Moon government’s posture toward Japan reveals that such aspects can be visibly identified. I also analyze the political background of rising anti- Japanese elements within the ruling party of South Korea, while attempting to show that alternative views of Japan are widely available despite the Moon government’s generally negative posture toward Japan. Based on a review of newspaper columns and civic initiatives for reconciling with Japan, this study further illustrates the existence of modest alternative views that are different from the government position. This clearly reflects that South Korea’s discursive space remains relatively democratic and plural. Finally, I address the question of whether political and diplomatic tensions would increase or decrease in the process of South Korean and Japanese interactions. Prescriptions are highly conditional in a sense that the level of tensions will be determined by the way interactions address the issues in contention. I take the position that there is not a single view but multiple and divided views of Japan in South Korea, particularly under the Moon administration. Although the Moon government contains a strong anti-Japanese and nationalist orientation, conservative intellectuals keep a moderate, cooperative stance toward Japan. One can find increasing diversity despite intense bilateral controversies over contemporary and past issues. I conclude that tensions between South Korea and Japan originate from political elites, rather than the general populace. Narrowing the perception gap between political leaders may be easier to do in bettering the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have experienced periods of conflict and cooperation since officially forging “partnership” relations in 1998. From a historical perspective, Korea was among the most willing participants of the Sinocentric tribute system and its underlying cultural hierarchy. Yet the 2003-2004 dispute over the ancient Koguryo kingdom’s identity marked the first major downturn in the China-ROK relationship since normalization. The rapid expansion of trade, at an average annual rate of 18 percent since 1992, has not prevented the two sides from fighting over political grievances. Most notably under the current Xi Jinping leadership, Beijing’s assertions of unprecedented friendship quickly turned into accusations of betrayal requiring economic punishment. Why and how did China’s policy toward South Korea shift so drastically after two decades of diplomatic normalization? To answer, we must focus on the expectations raised by China’s national identity for ties with South Korea. This study examines the evolution of Chinese views of South Korea with a focus on elite and popular narratives since 2013. Despite increased interdependence, these narratives point to China’s increasingly fragile political ties with Asian partners. Most importantly, China’s growing weight facilitates its strategic combination of economic and discursive tools of diplomacy framed by national identity. Recent tensions over the U.S.-ROK military alliance displayed Beijing’s denial of direct economic retaliation under the cover of public hostility, conveniently blurring the lines between state-led and voluntary actions. By hardening the identity dimensions of conflict, such strategies may only have long-term counterproductive effects of constraining Beijing’s political influence at home and abroad. The four sections below proceed as follows. First, I review two decades of China-ROK relations since the establishment of partnership ties in 1998. I identify two related trends: the intensification of political disputes despite trade, and China’s growing economic leverage in managing those disputes, keeping an eye on the role of national identity. Second, I assess the pessimistic turn in China’s domestic discourse on South Korea in the Xi Jinping period, using official, academic, and media sources. Third, I trace the interaction of elite and popular narratives, focusing on the 2016-2017 dispute over a U.S. missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). I briefly extend the discussion to public clashes over Hong Kong in 2019 to underscore the enduring impact of China’s major power and domestic political identities on China-ROK relations. To conclude, I consider the trajectory of bilateral relations under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in, including the domestic and foreign policy implications of nationalist discourse.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Public Opinion, Elites
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kathryn Botto
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: While President Moon Jae-in has a calmer demeanor than his mentor and friend, former President Roh Moo-hyun, there can be no doubt that his vision for transforming Northeast Asia is as far-reaching. While Moon has been more careful to assuage the U.S. president, less abrasive in his language toward Japan, and more strategic in reaching out to leaders in China and Russia, his strategy of putting North Korea at the forefront of regional realignment has similar geopolitical ambition. The objective is the rejuvenation of a reintegrated peninsula with the capacity to steer actions by all of the great powers rather than falling prey again to their machinations that are not in Korea’s interest.
  • Topic: Politics, Bilateral Relations, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Cheol-Won Lee, Hyun Jean Lee, Mahmut Tekçe, Burcu Düzgün Öncel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Investment between Korea and Turkey came into effect in August 2018. This article focuses on the construction sector and the cultural contents sector to seek possible cooperative measures between the two countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Culture, Economy, Investment, Industry
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Jang Ho Choi, Yoojeong Choi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This study examines changes in trade-related legal systems in North Korea and ac-tual trade transactions, and analyzes them in accordance with international standards (the WTO regulatory framework). Through this process, we will draw up measures to im-prove North Koreas trade system to open up the external economy as well as signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Ar-rangement (CEPA). The results of this study will contribute to understanding the main characteristics of trade-related laws and sys-tems within North Korea and suggest promis-ing directions for their improvement.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Meeryung La
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Korean government has been pursuing a New Southern Policy (NSP) focusing on the “3P” areas of cooperation ‒ People, Prosperity, and Peace. The NSP puts people at a center of policy, and emphasizes the enhancement of cultural conversation and people-to-people exchange between Korea and ASEAN. The majority of services trade, an area with a low level of cooperation between Korea and ASEAN, is inherently based on the exchange of people. Promoting services trade flows between Korea and ASEAN could contribute to achieving the vision of a People-centered community in the region. Also, when taking into account the fact that services are integral to the working of GVC, the government should pursue policies to promote services trade and to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in the services sector. To this end, we aim to identify the current status of service trade and service trade barriers between ASEAN and Korea. This report briefly covers ASEAN’s trade in services and the restrictiveness of service trade regulations in ASEAN, and then suggests policy recommendations based on the results.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regulation, Economy, Economic Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kyu yub Lee, Hyun Park
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: We attempt to characterize a data- and AI-driven economy and establish a general equilibrium growth model in order to describe the data economy and examine how data and AI can affect the economy in the long run. To sum up, this article provides three policy implications. First, the authority should have a balanced view between privacy protection and data usage in economy-wide technology in terms of long-run growth. Privacy should not be considered only as utility loss, but must be considered as a contributor to loss in growth rates. Second, economic growth can be achieved by using higher amounts of data as well as continuous development in AI technology. A caveat is that AI-technology can boost economic growth only when it applies to all industries as general purpose technology. Lastly, the authorities should keep considering how to deal with new issues that include data ownership, outlaw data sharing, data market, AI bias, and so forth. Our model can be used as a starting point to such examinations.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Privacy, Economic Growth, Economic Policy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Yessengali Oskenbayev
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This article investigates the potential direction of the Kazakh-Korean economic relationship. The two countries have become major partners in their economic relationship. It is important for Kazakhstan to establish economic relations with South Korea, to diversify its economy. Kazakhstan’s economy is strongly dominated by mineral resources extractive sectors, and the country’s rapid economic growth during the period from 2000 to 2007, and afterward due to oil price increases, was not well translated into substantial growth of non-extractive sectors. Kazakhstan could employ strategies applied by Korean policymakers to sustain business and entrepreneurship development.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Economic Growth, Economic Policy, Diversification, Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Surendar Singh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea enjoy strong economic and trade relations, shaped by a significant convergence of interest, mutual good will and high-level diplomatic exchange. Bilateral trade between the two countries has also increased after signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEPA). However, the overall trade balance is in favor of South Korea due to superior comparative advantage of Korea in manufacturing as compared to India. South Korean exports are high technology-intensive while India’s exports are low-value raw material and intermediate products. Both countries are members to a mega regional trade pact – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Though India has decided to not join the RCEP at this stage it will continue the discussion to explore possible ways to join it. Assuming that India will join the RCEP sooner or later, it is important to analyze the potential impact of the RCEP to India-South Korea bilateral trade ties. This short policy paper compares the proposed provisions of the RCEP and CEPA. It shows that the RCEP is much more comprehensive an agreement compared to the CEPA, both in terms of coverage and scope. It also provides some insights on the likely implications of the RCEP, especially from the perspective of trade with China factored against the bilateral trade ties between India and South Korea.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Deok Ryong Yoon, Soyoung Kim, Jinhee Lee
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: In this study we aim to clarify the different extents to which monetary policy influences foreign exchange rate determination between the monetary policies of small open economies with international currency and those without international currency, and use empirical research to explain why. Based on the analysis above, we make some policy suggestions.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, Monetary Policy, Economic Policy, Currency
  • Political Geography: South Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Tae Soo Kang, Kyunghun Kim, Yuri Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Since the global financial crisis, low interest rates have continued throughout the world. However, financial imbalance has deepened as much of the expanded investment during low interest rates did not lead to increased productivity. This study focused on the increase of marginal firms as a result of the adverse effects of financial imbalances on firms. The marginal firms were identified based on the company's financial statement, and the share of marginal firms by country was compared and analyzed using Worldscope data. As a detailed analysis on the marginal firms, the impact of borrowing interest rate on the possibility of becoming a marginal company was analyzed in the case of Korea with KED data. According to the international comparison, East Asia including Korea, China and Japan has shown a lower share of marginal companies than Europe, South Asia and Latin America. Empirical results through Panel Logit with Sector Fixed Effect Model show that the borrowing rate has a negative correlation with the probability the company will become a marginal company in the case of Korea. However, the impact of an increase in borrowing rates on the likelihood of becoming a marginal company depends on the degree of financial vulnerability. Specifically, an increase in the borrowing rate has a greater impact on the possibility to become ICR<1 in the companies with higher financial vulnerability indexes.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Business , Business Management
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Bama Dev Sigdel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The main objective of this article is to assess the effect of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in terms of economic interrelations between Asian countries mainly China, Korea, India and Nepal. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one of the most ambitious economic strategies in modern times that alters the economic, political and social relationship between Eastern and Western societies. It not only improves transport networks and facilitates trade, but also raises GDP of many economies. For China, BRI manifests its intention to become the next global power through bigger market access and economic opportunities. Although South Asia is less developed economically, it has high strategic utility for the BRI, which has drawn attention from China to deepen its relations in the region. On the other hand, South Korea has also emerged as a soft power in Asia. It has been playing a significant role in Asia by contributing the majority of its aid, i.e., 35 per cent in Asian economies and a major share of its FDI, i.e., 34.1 per cent. With the rapidly increasing growth of South Korea, it also has a growing relationship with ASEAN and other South Asian economies such as India to reduce its dependence on traditional trade allies. Moreover, for least developed economies like Nepal, the BRI can bring improved infrastructure, needed technology, managerial talents and greater connectivity to the world. South Korea can yield higher benefits through its relation with South Asia and especially Nepal through expansion of export and market access, access to cheap workable manpower to cope with its rising aging population, and less dependence on traditional allies through its investment in South Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, South Korea, Nepal
  • Author: Yuka Fukunaga
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been of the utmost importance for Japan's trade policy. In particular, Japan strongly supports the WTO’s rule-based dispute settlement mechanism, and frequently uses it. At the same time, in recent years, the adoption and implementation of regional and mega-regional trade agreements have become critical in Japan’s trade policy, with the stalling of the Doha Round negotiations in the WTO. Although the core of its trade policy remains the same today, Japan has been forced to rethink and modify it in response to the aggressive and unilateral trade policy of the Trump administration.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization, Governance, Internet, Free Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Stephen Ranger
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: Throughout the history of inter-Korean relations, the process of engagement between 1984 and 1985 has been of little focus among studies. Yet it is worthy of close analysis as it occurred during a critical time when Cold War tensions were mounting with shifts in the balance of power between the Soviet Union and the United States as well as the upcoming Summer Olympics in Seoul. This article reveals the way in which the complex international environment shaped inter-Korean dialogue, particularly within the context of how each side was also seeking support from the Soviet Union. Crucially, it will show that inter-Korean dialogue formed an important source of legitimacy for the two Koreas, both domestically and internationally. This has ramifications for today where the two Koreas are seeking out contacts with one another within a regional order increasingly being shaped by China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Jimmyn Pare
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: Under changing dynamics such as US-China relations, the domestic and foreign policies of South Korea’s new government under President Moon Jae-in have shown favor to China and North Korea, which is somewhat contrary to previous administrations that maintained pro-American policies. This situation is very similar to the geopolitical circumstances of the Joseon Dynasty during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before Korea was occupied by Japan. This article analyzes and compares the geopolitical situations and Korea’s domestic and foreign policies of the two periods. By doing so, this article argues that policy makers should be more prudent when deliberating what should be achieved in order to enhance the future of Korea, rather than how to ensure their own personal legacy or ambition for political power.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Reunification
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Hülya Görkem Demirbulak Bae
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: South Korea constitutes an important example in fighting the pandemic. South Korea handled the process in a planned, rapid manner, and at the same time transparently. In fact, transparency has been one of the secrets of the country’s current success. In light of all of these developments, this essay will lay out how South Korea managed the coronavirus pandemic process and the policies it implemented, with a special emphasis on the role of transparency in the country’s fight.
  • Topic: Accountability, Transparency, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Claudio Neidhofer, Guido Neidhofer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: The rapid spread of COVID-19 forced policy-makers to swiftly find solutions to reduce infection rates and keep mortality as low as possible. Empirical analyses on the effectiveness of control measures are hereby of primary importance. School closures were among the earliest measures enacted by the governments of most countries. However, while schools are now reopening in many countries, the impact of school closures on the course of the epidemic is still an open question. Adopting parametric and non-parametric synthetic control methods we estimate the effectiveness of pro-active school closures, and other early social distancing interventions, in three countries that reacted relatively early during the course of the pandemic. Our findings suggest that these interventions were effective at reducing the mortality rate of COVID-19, especially when enacted early.
  • Topic: Education, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South Korea, Argentina, South America, Italy
  • Author: Sanghoon Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: North Korea’s foreign policy decision-making procedure is highly centralized to a single leader or, at most, a few political/military elites. While democratic governments are restrained both horizontally and vertically, authoritarian regimes are relatively free of constraints from the public. This paper examines the motivations behind North Korea’s nuclear weapons development in light of the rational deterrence model, then discusses the strategic implications of a rational, or irrational, North Korea. It concludes that North Korea’s decision to develop nuclear weapons was rationally motivated by the deteriorating security environment surrounding the state, but that this will not guarantee deterrence.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Authoritarianism, Deterrence, Denuclearization, Rationality
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Julia Grübler, Oliver Reiter
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Many different approaches have developed for the evaluation of non-tariff measures (NTMs) and free trade agreements (FTAs). Moving on from models using simple dummy variables, today a range of databases can capture different aspects of NTMs and FTAs. Some assess the depth of FTAs by extracting information from legal texts. Other data sources are based on surveys, on complaints by trading partners at the World Trade Organization (WTO) or notifications by companies or countries. This paper uses a gravity model to assess the value added of information on FTAs and NTMs by evaluating ex-post their ability to predict the trade effects of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first ‘second-generation’ FTA of the EU, applied since 2011. Our results show that, when accounting for information on the FTA components, no extra trade effect is attributable to the EU-South Korea FTA. The message from the evolution of NTMs differs considerably according to the indicator used, but trade predictions are hardly affected. On the aggregate country level, provisions on investments exhibit a particularly strong positive effect, while regulations on intellectual property rights seem to hamper bilateral trade. Most specifications, furthermore, point to a negative effect of differences in the number of technical barriers to trade (TBT) applied and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) against which trading partners issued complaints at the WTO.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, Free Trade, WTO, Non-Tariff Measures
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea
  • Author: Mitchell Lerner, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Arissa H. Oh, Zachary M. Matusheski, Peter Banseok Kwon, Monica Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Monica Kim The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, War, History, Military Affairs, United States , Korean War, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The analysis concludes that the sudden breakdown in the latest round of U.S.-Korean nuclear arms control talks in Vietnam should scarcely come as a surprise to anyone. Both sides sought too much too soon and did so despite a long history of previous failures. Heads of state engaged before their staffs had reached a clear compromise and did so seeking goals the other leader could not accept. It is not clear that an agreement was reachable at this point in time, but each side's search for its "best" ensured that the two sides could not compromise on the "good." This failure sent yet another warning that agreements like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear arms agreement with Iran that offers major progress in limiting a nation's nuclear weapons efforts can be far better than no agreement, and of the danger in letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. The failed U.S. negotiations with Korea sends a warning that any set of compromises that preserves Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, and creates a structure where negotiation can continue, will be better than provoking a crisis with Iran that can end in no agreement at all and alienate America's European allies in the process.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Denuclearization, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Kaesong Industrial Complex, closed since 2016, was the most successful joint economic venture undertaken by North and South Korea. Reopening the manufacturing zone, with improvements to efficiency and worker protections, could help broker wider cooperation and sustain peace talks on the peninsula. What’s new? In 2016, South Korea shuttered the Kaesong Industrial Complex, breaking a modest but productive connection between the two Koreas. Crisis Group’s analysis sheds new light on the economic performance of firms operating at the Complex, demonstrating that the benefits for the South were greater than previously understood. Why does it matter? Beyond helping restart the stalled peace process, a deal to reopen the Complex in exchange for a proportionate step toward denuclearisation by North Korea could produce mutual economic benefits that help sustain South Korean support for talks and encourage Pyongyang’s commitment to peaceful relations. What should be done? As part of any deal to reopen the Complex, Seoul and Pyongyang should take steps to address problems that previously kept it from reaching its potential. The more efficiently, profitably and fairly it works, the better the Complex can help foster and maintain stable, peaceful relations between the Koreas.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Japan’s absence from frontline diplomacy on the North Korea crisis is undermining inter-national efforts to bring about a lasting peace. A close alliance with Tokyo is essential for American and European interests in East Asia. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ The European Union should consider playing a larger role as a mediator in the North Korean crisis. ■The United States can use its diplomatic weight to help Japan solve the abductee issue with North Korea. ■In the face of their shared security threat, Japan should take steps to ease current tensions with South Korea.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Power Politics, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: There were high expectations at the second meeting of American and North Korean leaders in Vietnam last month after the absence of progress on denuclearization commitments made at the first summit in Singapore last summer. Yet at Hanoi, not only were the two leaders unable to deliver an agreement with tangible steps on denuclearization, but they also dispensed with the joint statement signing, cancelled the ceremonial lunch and skipped the joint press conference. In a solo presser, President Donald Trump said that sometimes you “have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”[2] The President indeed may have avoided getting entrapped into a bad deal at Hanoi. What North Korea put on the table in terms of the Yongbyon nuclear complex addresses a fraction of its growing nuclear program that does not even break the surface of its underlying arsenal and stockpiles of fissile materials, not to mention missile bases and delivery systems. And what North Korea sought in return, in terms of major sanctions relief on five UN Security Council resolutions that target 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, would have removed one of the primary sources of leverage, albeit imperfect, on the regime. In this instance, no deal was better than a bad deal for the United States. Nevertheless, the Hanoi summit has left the United States with no clear diplomatic road ahead on this challenging security problem, a trail of puzzled allies in Asia and the promise of no more made-for-television summit meetings for the foreseeable future. The question remains, where do we go from here? When leaders’ summits fail to reach agreement, diplomacy by definition has reached the end of its rope. President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put on the best face they could in Hanoi, talking about closer understanding and continued good relations between the two sides as a result of the meetings, but the failed summit leaves a great deal of uncertainty going forward. South Koreans will frantically seek meetings with Washington and Pyongyang to pick up the pieces. The North Koreans already have sent an envoy to China to chart next steps. While I do not think this will mean a return to the “Fire and Fury” days of 2017 when armed conflict was possible, we have learned numerous lessons from Hanoi for going forward.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the second in the Senior Study Group (SSG) series of USIP reports examining China’s influence on conflicts around the world. A group of fifteen experts met from September to December 2018 to assess China’s interests and influence in bringing about a durable settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. This report provides recommendations for the United States to assume a more effective role in shaping the future of North Korea in light of China’s role and interests. Unless otherwise sourced, all observations and conclusions are those of SSG members.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Conflict, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: G. Ivashentsov
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: TENSION around the Korean Peninsula is one of the main threats to international security. North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear and missile weapon systems has become a new serious factor in global strategic sta- bility. Previously, during the cold war era, the only tool of control over strategic weapons was the relationship between Moscow and Washington. At present, the international situation has radically changed. New nuclear powers – India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea – regard- less of whether or not the original five members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) acknowledge them as such, are not under the control of either Washington or Moscow or Beijing: they act at their own discretion, as they see fit. The current polycentrism of nuclear proliferation is based on region- al rivalry. India has created its nuclear arsenal as a counterweight to China; Pakistan, as a counterweight to India; and Israel, as a shield against Arab states. None of these states, however, are seeking global supremacy and so their nuclear status is taken by the world community more or less in stride.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
  • Abstract: In an increasingly volatile world, mutual trust and confidence among defense establishments is critical. Growing arms competition and security anxiety in Northeast Asia, one of the most strategically important but politically volatile regions of the world, is increasing the demand for defense information, not only from governments and militaries but also from businesses, the media, and concerned citizens. The Defense Transparency Index (DTI), a project of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, ranks six countries on their efforts to promote transparency in defense and national security. Included in the Index are the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the Republic of Korea, along with the external major powers most involved in the region—the United States and Russia. What constitutes “defense transparency” is contested, and there is a lack of agreed-upon definitions and standardized means of measurement. The DTI addresses this gap by providing a framework for defining and measuring defense transparency. We rank countries across eight indicators to come up with overall rankings and for each country, providing a rigorous measurement of this essential but contested concept. Countries score well for budgetary disclosures, issuance of defense white papers, and being transparent on their military capabilities. The DTI is presented at the annual Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), a multilateral forum for track-two diplomacy. NEACD, which was founded by Susan Shirk, seeks to reduce the risk of military conflict in the region and to lay the groundwork for an official multilateral process in Northeast Asia by providing a regular channel of informal communication among the six governments.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Timur Dadabaev
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China, Japan, and South Korea have regarded Central Asia as a new Asian frontier in their foreign policies since the collapse of the Soviet Union. With time, their policies evolved into regionbuilding initiatives exemplified by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Belt and Road Initiative, Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue Forum, and Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum. This paper raises the following research questions: What are the areas of interest for China, Japan, and Korea in their relations with Central Asian states and Uzbekistan in particular? What are the patterns of agenda setting in establishing intergovernmental cooperation? What are the particular projects that these states initiate? What are the objectives of projects initiated within these areas of interest? How competitive or complementary are these projects of China, Japan, and Korea? Throughout, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean “Silk Road” roadmaps with Uzbekistan are discussed to highlight their similarities and differences.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Central Asia, Asia, South Korea, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Carl Conetta, Lutz Unterseher
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: A selection of slides prepared for seminars held in Holland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Belarus in 1994. The seminars were organized and co-sponsored by the Study Group on Alternative Security Policy (SAS) and the Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA). Twenty-five years later the principles of Confidence-Building Defense remain relevant to the efforts of North and South Korea to construct a “peace regime” after many decades of enmity and military standoff.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, National Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Belarus
  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Petri
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, (ANGLICO) supported the U.S. Army and allied units in the Republic of Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. In the summer of 1966, ten officers and 75 enlisted Marines were assigned to the 2 nd Republic of Korea Marine Corps Brigade. This paper recounts my tour of duty as a tactical air controller with the brigade’s 1 st Battalion from 1966 to 1968. I rotated among the battalion’s three companies and reconnaissance platoon, directing air strikes, coordinating helicopter resupply and arranging medical evacuations. My responsibilities allowed me to work alongside the company commander and fire support coordinator; my rank enabled me to interact with the company’s noncommissioned officers and enlisted Marines. Together we fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in nameless rice paddies and jungle choked heights, forging a legend that would define the fighting spirit that has become synonymous with the reputation and respect earned by Korea’s magnificent Marines. Throughout my association with the Blue Dragon Brigade, I have always been impressed with the leadership, training and discipline infused at every level of command. Employing two incidents of mortal combat as a vehicle to demonstrate these attributes, I attempt to convey the admiration and respect I hold for my brother Marines from the Land of the Morning Calm.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Conflict, Memoir, Vietnam War
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines North Korea’s dispatch of pilots, psychological operations, and tunneling specialists to aid the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Growing American and South Korean involvement in Vietnam provided an opportunity for North Korea’s increasingly assertive military leaders to better understand their adversaries. Pyongyang’s secret deployment was facilitated by the “Partisan Generals,” who sought to fight the Americans in the sky, demoralize the South Koreans on the ground, and perfect the techniques of underground warfare. North Korea provided material assistance that was significant given its limited resources. Additionally, North Korea detained South Korean Prisoners of War captured by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong. English, Korean, and Vietnamese language materials are used throughout this paper.
  • Topic: Cold War, Conflict, Vietnam War, Psychological Operations, Prisoners of War
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Michael MacArthur Bosack
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the multinational headquarters that led the allied forces in the Korean War. The command’s Military Armistice Commission supervises the Armistice Agreement. While the United Nations Command and its activities are common knowledge in the Republic of Korea, the command’s long-standing organization and functions in Japan are less well known. This relationship began in 1950 and is codified in the 1954 United Nations-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The command’s rear area headquarters, the aptly named United Nations Command-Rear Headquarters, has managed this relationship since 1957. After decades of few changes, the United Nations Command and its Sending States broadened traditional roles and missions from Japan beginning in the early 2000s. This led to expanded activities within the legal framework and security mandate governing the United Nations Command’s relationship with Japan, strengthening Japan’s ties with the command’s member states, and supporting the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. This paper examines the relationship between the United Nations Command and Japan, beginning with the institutions and interests underpinning the relationship. Next, it describes the Status of Forces Agreement and how the relationship functions. The paper concludes with a discussion of relevant policy issues, limitations to greater cooperation, and opportunities for expanded roles within the framework of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Military Affairs, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Lim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes the emerging détente within inter-Korean relations as evidence of tangible transformations within North Korea’s domestic and foreign policy, establishing how this phenomenon represents a unique and conclusive opportunity for peace and engagement. It contextualizes the inter-Korean and Singapore summits as foundations for the détente, before expanding upon the nature of the détente through the contrasting objectives of North and South Korea, and the transitional nature of domestic affairs in North Korea. The article establishes the bona fide nature of North Korea’s détente, as revealed by a direct connection between North Korea’s international diplomatic gestures vis-av-vis transitional domestic circumstances; involving incremental economic modernization and political liberalization under a shift in focus within Kim Jong-un’s Byungjin Line policy. This analysis departs from and orthodox Western interpretation of inter-Korean relations, providing a holistic analysis of inter-Korean affairs and North Korean domestic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore
  • Author: Elton J. Chun
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and the Republic of Korea concluded the 10th Special Measures Agreement on February 10, 2019. The two countries agreed to a one-year agreement after difficult negotiations in which Washington demanded that Seoul increase the amount paid to offset the costs of stationing American forces in Korea. Since 1991, Washington and Seoul have concluded 10 Special Measures Agreements. Unlike the previous five-year agreement, the 10th SMA was a “stopgap deal” that covered a one year of bilateral defense budgets with an option of extending the agreement for an additional year; it was the first SMA negotiated by the Trump administration. This article examines the 10th Special Measures Agreement, exploring the history of defense cost sharing between the two countries, effects on South Korea, implications for coordinating policy on North Korea, and influences on Japan, Russia, and China. The article concludes with an assessment on how the 10th Special Measures Agreement and other factors will affect future agreements.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Trisha Ray
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Until the late 1980s, the Republic of Korea was under de facto military rule. Accordingly, South Korea’s uniformed military had an outsized influence on domestic and foreign policy for much of the nation’s history. When the military regime gave way to civilian rule, scholars chronicled the emergence of democratic ideals in South Korea, including the cornerstone: civilian control of the military. As civil-military relations evolved, the uniformed military continued to influence areas of defense policy that are reserved for civilian leaders in other liberal democracies. This paper analyzes the United States-Republic of Korea Alliance’s influence on civil-military relations in South Korea using institutional and alliance legitimacy theories of organization. It proposes a triangular relationship between the uniformed military, civilian government, and military alliance with the United States. Institutional biases influence the uniformed military’s interactions with the alliance, while public opinion shapes the civilian government’s relationship with the alliance. In turn, how military officers and elected civilians view and relate to the alliance affects their relationship with one another. There is a positive correlation between perceptions of the alliance and the modes of civilian control over the military. Additionally, South Korean views of American leadership play a greater role in determining alliance favorability than perceptions of common security threats.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Alliance, Legitimacy, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. administrations have opted to negotiate with North Korea in an attempt to curb its nuclear ambitions. Rather than producing their intended effect, past negotiations have inadvertently served as a vehicle for North Korea to methodically achieve its nuclear objectives. This paper presents evidence of North Korea’s decades-old drive to maneuver through negotiations while also advancing its nuclear development, including its resistance to sign the IAEA safeguards agreement and its subsequent demands under the Agreed Framework which allowed Pyongyang to advance the clandestine portions of its nuclear program. The paper also explains, more specifically, how North Korea has used the negotiating process with the U.S. to achieve its objectives. Nuclear negotiations have followed a repeating cycle, with North Korea: (1) getting to the negotiating table; (2) agreeing to a freeze under a system of verification; (3) obstructing the verification process intended to monitor the freeze and then (4) blaming the U.S. for the ultimate collapse of the agreement while continuing to advance its weapons program. Finally, the paper uses the ‘repeating cycle’ framework above to assess events that have occurred during the Trump administration in order to predict probable future outcomes.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Todd B. Boese
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article analyzes the defense budgets of the Republic of Korea for 2018, 2019, and 2020 in order to determine if the requirements and objectives articulated in government policy rhetoric are receiving increased fiscal resources. Funding for programs associated with policy objectives indicates the political importance of those objectives. Determination of funding levels for budget programs is based on analysis of documents published by the ROK National Assembly, while identification of defense requirements and objectives is based on a review of statements made by the South Korean government. This research concludes that increases to the defense budget are not driven by changes in the security environment or security policy, but rather are a function of government expansionary fiscal policy. However, increased funding for aircraft programs in conjunction with decreased funding for maneuver and firepower programs does reflect the government’s objective to build a more balanced military force.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Budget, Defense Industry
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: China has great power over both Koreas, but its influence looks to be at its peak. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that the two Koreas are moving closer together and in the process shutting out outsiders. Moreover, the U.S., as it seeks to disarm North Korea, is pursuing policies undercutting Beijing’s role on the peninsula. And to make matters worse, China is beginning to limit its own effectiveness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Tanushree Nigam
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: n a major decision, the International Criminal Court ruled on September 6, 2018 that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of alleged deportation of the Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Pre-Trial Chamber accepted the OTP’s argument that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of cross border deportation of Rohingyas even though the alleged crime had been committed in Myanmar which is not a State Party. The Pre-Trial Chamber stated that this could be done as some “elements of the crime” had taken place in the territory of Bangladesh, which is a State Party. This judgment makes a towering statement that ICC’s jurisdiction is objective rather than subjective in nature. In this post, I discuss the basis and implications of the Chamber’s findings.
  • Topic: Legal Theory , International Criminal Court (ICC), Humanitarian Crisis, Deportation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Myanmar
  • Author: Pedro Brites, Bruna Coelho Jaeger
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: Since the 1990s, many analysts have sought to explain the differences in development paths between Brazil and South Korea, the latter often being pointed as an example of success. As a highly industrialized economy focused on international trade, the South Korean case stood out as a way of overcoming the backwardness of developing countries. However, there is a need for analysis that point to the specificities of the developmental state in South Korea, whose interventionist action was decisive in leveraging the country’s industrial production in accordance with internal business groups, as well as the geopolitical context favorable to outward-oriented industrialization. The Brazilian process, in turn, due to the wealth of natural resources and the large domestic market, has made the induction of the state in industrialization more artificial, whose policy supposes an element of coercion, induction and control. This research, therefore, seeks to analyze the specific dimensions of each case, highlighting the role of the state and its relationship with the internal bourgeoisie in the construction of an industrial policy. The trajectories of rise and decline of Brazilian and South Korean developmental state will be analyzed, including the current crisis of reconfiguration of political power that both countries are going through.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Governance, Industrialization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: During an era in which strategic gravity is shifting to Asia, the United States cannot be careless in tending to its alliances with Japan and South Korea (the Republic of Korea, or ROK). The three countries face persistent threats from North Korea and from China’s semi-transparent bid for regional hegemony. Meanwhile, rocky relations between Tokyo and Seoul are jeopardizing vital U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific. The latest disagreement between America’s premier allies raises new questions about alliance strategy, commitment, and burden-sharing. These fissures have become exacerbated as the U.S. pressures allies to increase their contributions to regional security and reciprocal trade. [...] This report seeks to explain why the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliance are still a vital means of achieving overlapping strategic interests. At the same time, it also argues that keeping these alliances fit for purpose requires radical change rather than business as usual. Both a rapidly changing security environment and growing intra-alliance squabbling pose dangers that require U.S. leadership. This report concludes with specific ideas for advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation in the coming months and years, without trying to achieve too much too quickly.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Security, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Cheol Hee Park
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Demand for trilateral cooperation between the United States, South Korea, and Japan is on the rise. However, political willingness and capacity for trilateral cooperation are declining, especially given recent diplomatic and economic tensions between South Korea and Japan. “Strategic Estrangement Between South Korea and Japan as a Barrier to Trilateral Cooperation,” a comprehensive report by Dr. Cheol Hee Park, nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Asia Security Initiative, examines shifting perspectives on trilateral cooperation, the layers of conflict between South Korea and Japan, and the role of the United States and concludes by providing concrete policy recommendations for enhancing prospects for trilateral cooperation moving forward.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, National Security, Elections, Partnerships, Norms
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Duyeon Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: This report examines pathways toward denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula by offering a conceptual framework and principles for a political roadmap informed by a technical understanding of nuclear issues, to guide Washington as it navigates a range of options in negotiations until 2020. Recognizing the inevitable linkages between denuclearization and the peace process and the effects the two issues have on each other, this report proposes and emphasizes the need for a comprehensive denuclearization-peace roadmap. The task and key challenge for the United States is to configure the right tradeoffs to create incentives for North Korea to take denuclearization steps without giving away too many vital rewards too soon, to maintain negotiating leverage. It is important to prevent Pyongyang from pocketing early gains and walking away from the process without making significant progress on denuclearization. Value-based metrics should be used in determining appropriate bargains.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Negotiation, Peace, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Brendan Helm, Dina Smeltz, Alexander Hitch
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has embarked on an ambitious and disruptive trade agenda, driven by his belief that the United States has lost “many billions of dollars” to trading partners and that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”[1] During his term, the president has escalated trade tensions with China; has renegotiated trade agreements with countries such as Mexico, Canada, and South Korea; and has withdrawn US involvement in trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 2019 Chicago Council Survey finds that though Republicans and Democrats differ on whether President Trump’s strategy is an effective approach to trade policy, the American public is more likely than ever to say that international trade benefits the United States.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Economy, WTO
  • Political Geography: Canada, South Korea, North America, Mexico, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Dina Smeltz, J. James Kim, Kang Chungku, Scott A. Snyder
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: While Seoul and Washington currently agree on using high-level diplomacy to encourage North Korea to denuclearize, South Korean and US approaches toward China differ and could become a source of friction between the two allies. Under President Donald Trump, the United States has confronted China through tariffs on Chinese imports and identified China as a near-peer adversary. Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made efforts to end a dispute with China over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and indicated openness to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Public preferences in both the United States and South Korea are not necessarily aligned with their own governments’ policies toward China. Chicago Council and Asan Institute surveys conducted in 2019 find that both South Koreans and Americans see a strengthened US-ROK alliance as an asset in dealing with China, suggesting that Washington and Seoul can afford to strengthen coordination between their policies toward China.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: From December 9 to 11, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs conducted a poll in South Korea on South Korean attitudes toward the United States, the alliance between the two countries, and the ongoing negotiations about host-nation financial support.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Public Opinion, Alliance, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: This report is the culmination of a two-year project sponsored by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, which engaged more than 50 senior, retired and serving policymakers, intelligence officers, and top academic national security analysts. Its findings are based on hours of group discussions and private conversations that helped develop new primary histories of eight nuclear proliferation cases: India, Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Libya, and an Argentine and a separate South African nuclear rocket case. Each history was prepared by an academic historian and was based on open sources. Former officials who had direct roles in these cases then critiqued these accounts. Additional private interviews were conducted with participants to fill in historical gaps. The purpose of the case studies was to identify when and how intelligence shaped or prompted nonproliferation policy actions and, if it did not, why. This set of historical conclusions prompted a more general discussion of how policy and intelligence officials might improve their collaboration to prevent and curb further nuclear proliferation and how academics might contribute by enhancing their treatment of such issues. The project addressed three broad, related questions: How can the role of intelligencein the making of nonproliferation policy be improved? How can the nonproliferation agenda get the priority it deserves? How can the nonproliferation community be sustained and strengthened?
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, History, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, India, Israel, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Libya, South Africa, Argentina, South America, North Africa
  • Author: Naoko Aoki
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: After conducting a record number of missile and nuclear tests in 2016 and 2017, North Korea dramatically changed its policy approach and embarked on a diplomatic initiative in 2018. It announced a self-imposed halt on missile and nuclear tests and held summit meetings with the United States, China, and South Korea from spring of that year. Why did North Korea shift its policy approach? This paper evaluates four alternative explanations. The first is that the change was driven by North Korea’s security calculus. In other words, North Korea planned to achieve its security goals first before turning to diplomacy and successfully followed through with this plan. The second is that U.S. military threats forced North Korea to change its course. The third is that U.S.-led sanctions caused North Korea to shift its policy by increasing economic pain on the country. The fourth is that diplomatic initiatives by South Korea and others prompted North Korea to change its position. This paper examines the actions and statements of the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, and Russia leading up to and during this period to assess these four explanations. It concludes that military threats and economic pain did not dissuade North Korea from obtaining what it considered an adequate level of nuclear deterrence against the United States and that North Korea turned to diplomacy only after achieving its security goals. External pressure may have encouraged North Korea to speed up its efforts to develop the capacity to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed missile, the opposite of its intended effect. Diplomatic and economic pressure may have compelled Kim Jong Un to declare that North Korea had achieved its “state nuclear force” before conducting all the nuclear and ballistic missile tests needed to be fully confident that it could hit targets in the continental United States. These findings suggest that if a pressure campaign against North Korea is to achieve its intended impact, the United States has to more carefully consider how pressure would interact with North Korean policy priorities. Pressure should be applied only to pursue specific achievable goals and should be frequently assessed for its impact.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Liudmila Zakharova
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The New Northern Policy, proclaimed by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok in September 2017, is designed to boost economic cooperation between Russia and South Korea. However, two years after a special presidential committee was created to plan and coordinate joint economic efforts, few results have been achieved. Bilateral trade has continued to increase with limited change to its structure: Russia mostly sends its mineral resources to South Korea and receives industrial products in return. New ROK investment in the Russian Far East has yet to occur, despite South Korea’s efforts to assist its businesses in finding profitable Russian projects. Seoul tried to convince Moscow that concluding a free trade agreement in the near future is necessary for intensified cooperation, but Russia prefers a more gradual approach to trade liberalization. InterKorean rapprochement in 2018 laid a foundation for further progress in the implementation of multilateral economic projects involving Russia if the international sanctions against North Korea were to be eased. Therefore, bilateral relations between Russia and the ROK can also be viewed from the perspective of promoting regional cooperation with North Korean participation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Darcie Druadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korea’s deliberate liberalization of migration controls has facilitated the entry and stay of new types of residents from various ethnic, political, and national backgrounds. With this demographic shift comes new questions for the South Korean polity in terms of its expectations of rights and duties of residents in the country. South Korean citizenship has, until the past decade, been largely premised on belonging in two fields: shared ethnic descent and contributions to the nationstate development project. However, new residents, who are ethnically diverse and who contribute to the national project, are seeking greater rights and social welfare provisions just as Korean nationals are ambivalent about their inclusion in the democratic body politic. As a result, the migrant policies bring into sharper relief the contours of democratic discourse in South Korea today. Drawing from six months of immersive fieldwork conducted in South Korea, this paper analyzes the relevance of migrant rights and expectations in understanding the broader democratic challenges in South Korea. Examining the government’s institutionalization of certain migrant “categories”—namely, temporary labor migrants and so-called “marriage migrants”— the paper argues that South Korea’s treatment of diversity and the protection of individual rights should be analyzed more deeply to understand current trends in South Korean civil society and democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Migration, Immigration, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jiwon Nam, Kristin Vekasi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Tensions between South Korea and Japan are frustratingly persistent. Despite the shared interests of both countries, such as economic development in Southeast Asia, and keeping a robust alliance with the United States, South Korea and Japan maintain a bellicose relationship because of unresolved historical misunderstandings and territorial disputes. Inconsistent diplomatic policies and lack of strong leaders have made it difficult to prevent unnecessary hostility between South Korea and Japan. Fear of losing support has prevented politicians from pursuing friendly policies towards each other. Businesspeople, too, have been reluctant to pursue friendly policies towards each other, because of preconceived risks of being targeted for backlash. An examination of economic data shows these risks are minimal, and political tensions do not affect business or consumer behavior. Current efforts from both Korean and Japanese business organizations to improve cooperation include student exchange programs, recruitment processes, and public diplomacy. We urge the business community to advocate more to improve bilateral relations. Economic relations alone are insufficient to handle the task of improving a difficult relationship; there is also a need for leadership. In South Korea-Japan relations, the business community should step in and provide that role.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Business , Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America