Journal UNISCI/Revista UNISCI nº 52 (January/ Enero 2020) SPECIAL ISSUE ON KOREA , Jimmyn Parc, EunSook Yang, Stephen Ranger (coordinators)

Antonio Marquina: Editor´s Note/Nota Editorial
Selected Bibliography/Bibliografía Seleccionada


Has the Ghost that Ruined the Country Been Resurrected? The Puzzle of South Korea’s...

Jimmyn Parc
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.
Keywords: Inter-Korean relations, Korean Peninsula, reunification, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Taft–Katsura agreement.

Searching for Legitimacy? The Motivations behind Inter-Korean Dialogue during the Mid-1980s

Stephen Ranger
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.
Keywords: Inter-Korean relations, South Korea, North Korea, nationalism, Cold War.

Why EU’s Multilateralism matters in Korea’s Peace Process?

Sunhee Park
Abstract: Despite South Korea’s expectations to gain the EU’s support during the 2018 momentum for peace on the Korean peninsula, the EU exhibited reluctance to lend its support. In light of this event, this study looks into why the positions of South Korea and the EU differ on the Korean peace process to gain a better understanding of the EU’s approach. Specifically, this study examines how, for the EU, the Korean Peninsula is a topic to be approached within the EU’s multilateral principle framework on external relations, unlike the approach taken by the United States. Through a review of the EU’s multilateral approach, this study suggests how South Korea may be able to request the EU to take a more active role, albeit a limited role due to the US’s powerful influence over the Korean peninsula, in supporting South Korea’s peace-building process such as the Northeast Asia Plus Community of Responsibility.
Keywords : Korea Peace Process, European Union, multilateralism, Northeast Asia Plus Community of Responsibility

Changing Roles of the EU and ASEAN on Peace in the Korean Peninsula

Sangmin Bae and Martyn de Bruyn
Abstract: Continuing tension and competition among Northeast Asian countries complicate the degree to which North and South Korea can actively garner support from regional powers. The involvement of regional powers has not been effective means to overcome the status quo. Bilateral negotiations between North Korea and the United States, while critical for tension reduction in the region, have not been able to produce an agreement. Instead, international institutions from outside the region may be able to help negotiate a peace agreement that brings acceptable levels of security to all parties involved. This article examines the past and future roles of international institutions located outside of the region -- notably the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Exploring the relations of the EU and ASEAN with the two Koreas, the article assesses their potential as mediators in the process of creating a lasting peace between the Koreas.
Keywords: Peace in Korea, North Korea and the US, Korea and EU, Korea and ASEAN

The two Koreas´ Relations with China: Vision and Challenge

EunSook Yang
Abstract: The relationship between China and the two Koreas can be considered as a friendship that is not completely reliable. North Korea and China have been considered strong allies by the outside world, but questions arise nowadays about whether that relationship is based on a true friendship. The relationship between South Korea and China is a somewhat ambiguous one. There exists a complex situation and dilemmas in that trilateral relation. This article examines the current trilateral relations between China and the two Koreas in order to draw the position of each other. For this purpose, we explore three different approaches: China´s position toward North Korea and South Korea; the position of the two Koreas toward China and their defence; and the regime survival of North Korea and the political and economic interests of South Korea. The analysis of the relationship between China and the two Koreas is based on the context of a shared history, culture and the rapidly changing international economic and political situation together with the regional security hazards caused by the nuclear weapons essays and missile tests of North Korea.
Keywords: China, South Korea, North Korea, Asian History, security, geopolitics

Is Japan the “Britain” of East Asia? A Geopolitical Analysis of Japan’s Long-term...

Young-Hwan Shin
Abstract: Japan’s geographical location is often compared to that of the United Kingdom in Europe, and its strategic role is expected to correspond to Britain’s as a balancer that has endeavored to keep the European world from being dominated by a hegemony or hegemonic coalition of powers. his geographical resemblance infers that Japan will play the role of a British balancer in East Asia. However, Japan differs from the UK geopolitically. If it were a balancer, Japan would welcome a more stable Korean Peninsula able to manage unexpected provocation from the North. Instead, Japan is skeptical about today’s changing inter-Korean situation, following the Panmunjom Declaration on 27 April 2018. It needs to be understood that Japan has lain within a different geopolitical environment from Britain in Europe, which influenced different strategic choices in the history of East Asia.
Keywords: Japan, Korean Peninsula, geopolitics, balancer, insularity, seapower

The Diplomatic Conflict between South Korea and Japan: Has the Candlelight Revolution become the...

Jaejun Sung
Abstract: This article will analyze why Moon’s administration have caused the current conflict with Japan and how the government has exploited the situation. In particular, this paper will examine the reason why Moon’s administration denies the “Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea” which was signed in 1965 and doggedly insists that Japan is responsible for this conflict. As the conclusion of this paper, we can see the issues occurring in South Korea regarding Japan can be attributable to the ideological basis
Keywords: Candlelight Revolution, Jeogpyecheongsan, relationship between South Korea and Japan.

Enhancing Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation through International Cluster: Implications for the Kaesong Industrial Complex

Hwy-Chang Moon, Wenyan Yin
Abstract: In spite of the high potential of economic cooperation between the two Koreas, political tensions and international sanctions have discouraged the sustainability of economic outcomes. To overcome these political challenges, this article introduces two frameworks of international cluster and global value chains (GVCs) for developing effective and sustainable economic exchanges. These frameworks are applied to the case of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) and analysis of the reasons for its failure is provided. This article then suggests two strategic solutions for the KIC: minimizing the role of North Korea to a few GVC activities, and encouraging more foreign companies’ investment. Unlike preceding studies that overemphasize the political challenges in inter-Korean economic relationships, we emphasize that an effective approach through internationalization can not only contribute to sustainable economic development but also ease political tensions
Keywords: Economic cooperation, Kaesong Industrial Complex, South Korea, North Korea, international cluster, global value chains


The Terrorist Threat Assessment 2020

Liu Chunlin and Rohan Gunaratna
Abstract:: The Islamic State (IS) centric threat has spread to Africa and Asia. In Sub Saharan Africa, the threat is growing in the Sahel and, in Asia, the threat is growing in South Asia. The IS influence in Africa is growing, with attacks in Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Somalia. The IS suffered very serious setbacks in Iraq and Syria throughout 2019 but expanded to other parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. All indications are that Afghanistan is likely to emerge as an alternative IS headquarters. Regarding the relations between al Qaeda and IS, the two movements, that are ideological akin, are likely to merge if not work together at least in some theatres. If so, the global threat to governments and communities will increase exponentially.
Keywords: Terrorism, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, threat assessment in 2020, terrorist operations in Asia