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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