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  • 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