Unification Transparency Index: South Korea

Analysis, Economics, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Governance, Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Infrastructure & Energy, Legal, Military, Nuclear Weapons, Refugees & Migration
, by Domestic stabilization is the most critical issue with unification for South Korean officials and experts, registering the highest composite score (i.e., high level of concern and low level of knowledge). This means civil-military relations, law and order, and stability in the North represent the issues for which Koreans see great consequences for national interests, but for which they have little prior knowledge or understanding. Hence, it is the greatest potential “blind spot” of unification. Costs related to unification rank a close second for South Koreans, followed by refugees, nuclear weapons, and human rights.

Geopolitics and President Moon’s Economic Policy Development

Economics, Governance
, by South Korea’s New President, in Trying to Develop Economic Policy, is Caught up in Geopolitics. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, in his first two months in office is trying to ease the country’s relations with North Korea just as liberal predecessors, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, sought to do. Moon opened the door to negotiations and even a summit with the North’s Kim Jong Un, but he has also spoken critically of the North’s missile tests and, with a missile firing and flyovers conducted with the U.S., flexed the South’s military muscles. Moon’s economic strategy is unfolding in a similar manner, with ideas that are like those of the progressive leaders past and some tactics that show he recognizes when difficult choices are needed.

Unification Transparency Index: United States

Analysis, Economics, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Governance, Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Infrastructure & Energy, Legal, Military, Nuclear Weapons, Refugees & Migration
A survey study of 233 of the United States’ top Asia/Korea experts, government officials, scholars, and opinion leaders found that domestic stabilization, not nuclear weapons, ranks as the #1 issue for the U.S. with unification (i.e., highest composite score in the entire survey in terms of most acute lack of knowledge/most acute concern for U.S. interests). The top four blind spots for the U.S.: 1) domestic stabilization; 2) nuclear weapons; 3) economic development; 4) cost.