Comparing South Korea and U.S. Perceptions of Korean Unification

Analysis, Economics, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Governance, Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Infrastructure & Energy, Legal, Military, Nuclear Weapons, Refugees & Migration
, by Beyond Parallel’s first-ever survey of expert assessments on unification-related issues indicate South Korea and the United States share the common view that domestic stabilization and unification costs constitute the most critical unification blind spots with a high degree of concern but low levels of knowledge for both countries.

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.

Global Leaders Forum Address by His Excellency President Moon Jae-in

Foreign Affairs, Governance
, by On June 30, 2017, His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, delivered a Global Leaders Forum address to a Washington D.C. foreign policy audience of more than 250 at CSIS headquarters. This occasion marked several firsts: President Moon's first foreign policy address abroad, his first visit to the United States as president, and his first summit meeting with the Donald J. Trump administration.

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.

Promoting Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law

Governance, Human Rights
, by One of the most important recent steps forward was the creation of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on DPRK human rights violations and its ground-breaking report which was issued in 2014. That report concluded that the DPRK regime systematically violated the human rights of its own people—including freedom of thought, expression and religion; freedom from discrimination; freedom of movement and residence; and the right to food.

Travel to North Korea: Should it be Prohibited in the Aftermath of American Student’s Death?

Foreign Affairs, Governance, Human Rights
, by The tragic death of Otto Warmbier has again raised the question of whether travel to North Korea ought to be prohibited by the United States government. Prohibiting travel by Americans to North Korea has been talked about for some time, primarily on Capitol Hill. Arguments for a travel ban are (1) to protect the safety and wellbeing of American citizens; and (2) travel is a source of hard currency for the Kim regime which goes to the “royal economy” for imported French cognac and luxury automobiles for the young leader, as well as to fund nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.