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  • 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: 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: 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: 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