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  • 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: 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: 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