Today, we report on a few interesting bits of economic news and analysis that are revealing of regime priorities. Not surprisingly, they also highlight a reoccurring theme of this blog: the regime’s current policies are foregoing massive social welfare gains that it could reap from relatively simple changes. First, if you missed it we provided […]
China’s risky decision to announce an expansive Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has sparked a debate about how the US and Japan should respond. ADIZ’s have no standing in international law; they do not necessarily correspond with territorial or even Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) clams. Nonetheless, they constitute a unilateral assertion of the power to identify, locate, and control aircraft in the name of national security…
We’re in the money: Daily NK published a story recounting opposition lawmaker Oh Young Sik of the Trade, Industry and Energy Committee flogging previously published reports that North Korea has more than $6 trillion in minerals under the ground. (Maybe he missed the story that put it at $10 trillion.) Anyway, according to the report […]
In my book Avoiding the Apocalypse, I used a standard gravity model to estimate a counterfactual: what would North Korea’s trade pattern look like if it were a “normal” country? That is, if it traded like a typical country with its size and income level and other relevant characteristics such as distance from foreign markets. […]
The Graduate School at UCSD recently hosted Brad Roberts, who served in the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy until early 2013. He directed us to a paper he had written for Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies on extended deterrence in Northeast Asia (see our reflections […]
When I try to bend ears about the subtle erosion of freedom of expression in South Korea, a standard response is that I must mean North Korea. No. As I have documented in some detail (here, here and here)—and in a longer paper with Jong-sung You available on request—a number of factors have combined to […]
Inter-Korean economic cooperation projects—including railroads—are among the few things that garner a consensus in South Korea. In the last couple of weeks there have been a flurry of reports that, having re-established the rail link between Khasan and Rason, Russia’s Vladimir Putin wants to push south through the DMZ and re-establish the “Eastern line” down […]
Recent South Korean polling results reinforce the finding of an earlier experts survey, documenting deteriorating perceptions of Japan and South Korea-Japan relations. According to results published by the Asan Institute, South Korean perceptions of Japan have fallen noticeably since Abe Shinzo became Prime Minister in December 2012 (see above). Abe himself barely edges out North Korean lead Kim Jong-un in terms of South Korean public perceptions and registers less than half the favorability of Russia’s Vladmir Putin. Yet a clear majority of South Koreans would like to see President Park repair the relationship.
Researchers from the Asan Institute have recently put out two pieces on public opinion which read together can be interpreted as a snapshot of how South Koreans see the world and their place in it. Bottom line: they see themselves and China rising and the US and Japan declining (below).
Park Geun Hye’s Trustpolitik got off to a rocky start. The concept was first unveiled in English in a piece published in Foreign Affairs in September/October 2011 and elaborated in an important speech in November 2012. (Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se offers a very concise exposition for Global Asia.) Trustpolitik served a crucial political function for […]