Where to now for ROK–China–Japan trilateral relations?

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang,and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a news conference after trilateral summit at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, 1 November, 2015. The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan met Sunday for their first summit talks in more than three years as the Northeast Asian powers struggle to find common ground amid bickering over history and territory disputes. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Soyen Park, Korea University

On 1 November 2015, the leaders of East Asia’s three main powers gathered together to hold the sixth Republic of Korea–China–Japan (KCJ) Trilateral Summit in Seoul, the Republic of Korea (ROK). It was not only the first trilateral summit since the leadership changes in all three countries, but also Read more…

South Korea’s secret weapon against the North

South Korean army soldiers stand guard on Unification Bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone, near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, 24 August 2015. Marathon negotiations by senior officials from the Koreas stretched over three days as the rivals tried to pull back from the brink. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sangsoo Lee, ISDP

On 25 August 2015, top-level negotiators from the North and South Korea reached a six-point agreement in the aftermath of a period of high military tension, which began when a landmine exploded in the Demilitarized Zone on 4 August, wounding two South Korean soldiers. Accusing North Korea of an unprovoked attack, South Korea responded by resuming anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts for the first time since 2004. Read more…

South Korea’s generation of discontent

Unionized workers march at the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the country's leading shipbuilder, in the southeastern city of Ulsan, South Korea, 04 September 2015, after launching a partial strike to demand higher wages, better working conditions and other benefits. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hyung-a Kim, ANU

In South Korea 410,000 young people in their 20s are looking for work and unemployed. This is up from 330,000 in 2013 and is a 15-year high. But this deepening societal crisis should come as little surprise.

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Why the Iran deal could work for North Korea


Author: Chung-In Moon, Yonsei University

On the brink of a crisis that threatened to escalate into conflict, North and South Korea recently reached an agreement on 25 August to prevent further confrontation, resume official talks, hold reunions of separated families and promote civilian exchanges. This was a remarkable reversal in tensions. But the thaw is only the beginning of a precarious and long journey toward peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. Read more…

Ms Park goes to Beijing, but will Xi cooperate on North Korea?

South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a luncheon meeting with members of charity groups at presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University

South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China from September 2–4 to attend Beijing’s official activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including a military parade on 3 September. Her visit comes fresh off the heels of inter-Korean tensions triggered by a North Korean landmine which maimed two South Korean soldiers. Read more…

South Korea must confront structural problems in the economy

A delivery worker unloads boxes from a cart at a market in Seoul on 3 August 2015. Export success conceals economic weakness in South Korea, argues Seongman Moon. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Seongman Moon, KIEP

South Korea’s economic growth has slowed significantly since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The five-year average GDP growth rate was 7.9 per cent during 1991–95, but dropped substantially to 4.5 per cent for 2001–05 and then 3.8 per cent in 2006–10. This slowdown is closely linked to that in domestic demand. After the burst of the credit card lending boom from 1999–2002, growth in domestic demand has been close to zero and has even dropped into the negative. Read more…

Abe’s history report fails Japan–ROK relations

South Korean protesters and North Korean defectors shout slogans during a rally denouncing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Samuels, MIT

Many have correctly objected to the potted history depicted in the front end of the Abe statement. But it seems that Abe was licensed in a sense by the report his expert advisory council issued on 6 August. Would they or would they not label Japanese behaviour as ‘aggression’? It had been leaked that they would, and they did — with a caveat.

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