Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

2 July 2020

South Korea’s Digital New Deal

By Troy Stangarone

As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 induced economic recession, the Moon administration has proposed spending 76 trillion won ($62 billion) over the next five years on the Korean New Deal to prepare the South Korean economy for the future.

The Korean New Deal is centered on two pillars – the Green New Deal and the Digital New Deal. While the Green New Deal is focused on transitioning South Korea to a net-zero emissions economy, the Digital New Deal would lay the foundations for a digital economy that will spur economic growth and innovation.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are transforming the global economy. The new digital economy that is emerging is underpinned by technologies such as 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). IHS Markit estimates that by 2035 the 5G global value chain will be worth $3.6 trillion and support 22.3 million jobs. AI and big data are expected to have similar economic impacts.

30 June 2020

South Korea’s Digital New Deal

By Troy Stangarone

As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 induced economic recession, the Moon administration has proposed spending 76 trillion won ($62 billion) over the next five years on the Korean New Deal to prepare the South Korean economy for the future.

The Korean New Deal is centered on two pillars – the Green New Deal and the Digital New Deal. While the Green New Deal is focused on transitioning South Korea to a net-zero emissions economy, the Digital New Deal would lay the foundations for a digital economy that will spur economic growth and innovation.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are transforming the global economy. The new digital economy that is emerging is underpinned by technologies such as 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). IHS Markit estimates that by 2035 the 5G global value chain will be worth $3.6 trillion and support 22.3 million jobs. AI and big data are expected to have similar economic impacts.

27 June 2020

How Far Will North Korea’s Military Adventurism Go?

By Jina Kim

A man watches a TV screen showing a news program with video of the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office building in Kaesong, North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, June 17, 2020.Credit: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office used for talks with South Korea and vowed that more actions would follow. Hence, many are speculating as to how far North Korea’s military adventurism will go in the future.

Provocation is defined as a strategic action to gain political advantage at a time when national values or interests are challenged. In mapping out next moves, it will be important for North Korea to anticipate what it will gain from provocations. It is also important for North Korea to calculate whether the value of expected utility will be large enough to offset the political and diplomatic costs that can be entailed by offensive actions. In this regard, we can assume that the scope and level of North Korea’s next move will be determined by the extent of the benefits it can expect.

Pressuring the US

26 June 2020

Why North Korea Blew Up Its Détente With the South

Elliot Waldman

What a difference two years makes. The spring and summer of 2018 saw an extraordinary rapprochement between the two Koreas, as their leaders held successive face-to-face meetings, culminating in a landmark visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang. The flurry of diplomacy produced a number of joint declarations, agreements, hotlines and other confidence-building measures, including an inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, just 6 miles into North Korean territory from the Demilitarized Zone. It was the first full-time communication channel and served as a de facto embassy between the two sides, which are technically still at war having not signed a peace agreement after the Korean War ended in 1953.

Much of the progress of the past two years came crashing down this week when North Korea used controlled explosives to destroy the liaison building, which had been largely unused since January due to the coronavirus pandemic. The blast, powerful enough to shatter windows of nearby buildings, was clearly designed to send a message.

21 June 2020

South Korean Defense Minister Emphasizes Increased Spending on Indigenous Defense Manufacturers

By Ankit Panda

South Korea’s defense minister, Jeong Kyeong-doo, said on Monday that he supported plans to continue heavy defense spending focused on indigenous South Korean firms. According to Jeong, increased spending would help these firms weather the difficult economic environment brought about globally by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are putting efforts to spend more on purchasing arms from local companies, instead of buying from abroad, when drawing the budget plan for next year,” Jeong said, speaking to executives from South Korea’s top defense firms, according to the Yonhap News Agency. “We are working on how to better support [the industry], but there have been limits in drawing visible achievements,” Jeong added, according to Yonhap. “Though it is not easy, I hope we can overcome this difficult situation together.”

Jeong’s comments came as tensions between the two Koreas flared following the release of a statement by Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister and a top North Korean official, threatening direct military action in retaliation for what Pyongyang said was Seoul’s inability to stifle civil groups from launching anti-North Korean regime leaflets across the inter-Korean border.

6 June 2020

On Hong Kong, South Korea Is Caught Between China and US

By Tae-jun Kang

South Korea’s concerns are deepening as the United States and China each seek support from other countries over their positions. The conflict between two nations is escalating over Beijing’s decision to introduce the controversial decision giving its legislature power to pass a Hong Kong national security law.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming said in a recent interview with China’s state-run CCTV that the Chinese side would actively communicate with Seoul over the Hong Kong law and he believed that it would gain “understanding and support” from the Korean side. It is unprecedented to see China asking for support on the Hong Kong issue, since China’s principle has been not to allow outside intervention in Hong Kong.

According to diplomatic sources, meanwhile, the United States also recently invited a group of Washington-based diplomats from its key allies to explain the U.S. position regarding the national security law. South Korean diplomats were among those invited.

This is a difficult situation for South Korea, which has maintained “strategic ambiguity” between the countries.

4 June 2020

The role of geospatial information in confronting COVID-19 – Learning from Korea


Map of confirmed COVID-19 cases (blue icons) in Korea and pharmacies with available face masks (yellow icons) - a practical example of geospatial-based COVID-19 response (Image: Government of Korea)

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, authorities are relying on measures that are inherently spatial in nature: quarantining, contact tracing, and social distancing. With citizens working and studying at home, decision makers are navigating the pressures of needing to prevent infection, while also looking to eventually relax restrictions and reopen the economy.

28 May 2020

Kim Jong Un continues to lie low amid coronavirus pandemic

By Yaron Steinbuch

Three weeks after Kim Jong Un was last seen publicly, questions continue to swirl about his whereabouts as a South Korean daily cited a Seoul official as saying the reclusive leader may simply be carrying out his duties from his favorite villa in Wonsan, according to a report.

Kim’s low profile comes as the Hermit Kingdom imposes anti-coronavirus measures, although Pyongyang insists it has no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

South Korean officials have said they believe his limited public appearances may have been due to precautions in the face of the pandemic.

North Korea has canceled, postponed or toned down many major public gatherings because of the outbreak.

The reclusive despot has appeared publicly four times in April and so far in May — compared to 27 times in the same period last year, Reuters reported.

27 May 2020

Why the Iran-North Korea Missile Alliance Is Pure Trouble

Bruce E. Bechtol

On January 7, 2020, Iran launched ballistic missiles at American bases located in Iraq. One set of the missiles launched were in the “Qiam” series, missiles based on the North Korean built (and proliferated to Iran) Scud C system—and likely enhanced with North Korean assistance as well. But this is only the latest example of North Korea’s deep involvement and support of Iran’s ballistic-missile programs, an activity that has been ongoing since the 1980s, wrongly assessed by some poorly informed analysts to have “declined” following the 1990s, and a very real threat that continues with the likely presence of North Korean advisors and technicians in Iran today. But the threat is probably more compelling than most analysts realize.

North Korea has either developed or assisted with the development of the majority of Iranian liquid-fueled ballistic missiles systems. In fact, the majority of Iran’s ballistic missile systems can trace their genesis back to North Korean proliferation and/or technical assistance. Some key examples include several Scud systems, the No Dong series, the Musudan series (now seen in the Khorramshahr), the “Safir” satellite launch vehicle (the first stage is a No Dong), and Unha technology—now seen in the Iranian “Simorgh.” The first stage of the Unha rocket is a cluster of four No Dong engines—which is also the first stage of the “Simorgh.” Iranian technicians were reportedly present at both the 2009 and 2012 “Unha” launches. In short, as the North Korean ballistic-missile programs advance their capabilities, these new developments are often then proliferated to Iran. But there is more, and this now involves both IRBM and ICBM advances in North Korea (and of course a new rocket).

Question: What Direction Do You See U.S.-North Korea Relations Heading in For the Rest of the Year?

by Lucia Husenicová

Looking at the situation in the United States, given the coronavirus crisis, it is hard to foresee any significant change in U.S.-North Korean bilateral relations. It would be difficult to plan for another summit meeting in the current pandemic-focused world, even though it was suggested at the beginning of this year. It is hard to imagine how the American public would react if President Donald Trump were to leave the country in both a time of crisis and in the middle of presidential election season.

However, coming closer to the election, if Trump feels the need to show the voters a win, he might opt for a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Since 2018, we know that the administration is very flexible when it comes to organizing a summit in a mere three-month period. But I would still rate the possibility of another summit as low, as North Korea’s leadership would also have a say in any plans related to a summit.

Looking at DPRK’s motivation to meet with Trump, there are two possible trajectories. In the first case, the idea of a summit would require Kim Jong-un foreseeing Trump as U.S. president for the next four years and being able to bring benefits to his country. The DPRK can evaluate how the summit could be reflected at the voters’ behaviour and decide upon that.

11 May 2020

What Kim Wants The Hopes and Fears of North Korea’s Dictator

By Jung H. Pak
Between 2017 and 2019, relations between the United States and North Korea made for great television. Perhaps this was by design: U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to believe that any interactions between the two adversaries would be more successful—or at least play more to his strengths—the more they resembled an entertaining spectacle in which he took center stage. For his part, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took advantage of Trump’s apparent desire for drama, which put Kim and his country at the center of world events. But a spectacle might have been inevitable, given the two leaders’ shared penchant for aggressiveness and unpredictability. 

The first season of the resulting show was marked by confrontation: Kim’s belligerent rhetoric and nuclear and missile tests in 2017, Trump’s threats (“fire and fury”), and insults the two men hurled at each other (Trump dubbed Kim “Little Rocket Man,” and Kim dismissed Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard”). In the second season, the plot took a twist, as the main characters stepped back from the brink and held two carefully choreographed summits. After the first meeting, held in Singapore in June 2018, Trump was effusive. “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” he declared on Twitter. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

8 May 2020

The Coronavirus Has Pushed North Korea’s Economy to the Edge

BY THOMAS BYRNE
Source Link

As in much of the world, the coronavirus pandemic has shut down North Korea’s economy. The country’s fiscal resources are overwhelmed, forcing Pyongyang to issue domestic bonds for the first time in 17 years. The crisis highlights the country’s financial weakness, which stems from its decades-long self-imposed isolation and more recent international sanctions.

Before turning to debt, North Korea attempted to wring money from state factories and the country’s budding donju entrepreneur class of merchants—and, increasingly, financiers—who best exemplify North Korea’s “reform from below” dynamic. They rose from the collapse of the central plan and have a symbiotic relationship with a state officially hostile to capitalism, existing in a limbo with little political or legal protections, as contract law and property rights remain rudimentary. The Minju Chosun, a powerful government-run newspaper in North Korea, called on factories and businesses to fulfill their tax obligations so that the state could meet its plans to grow the budget 4.2 percent this year. That seems an impossibility at this point.

30 April 2020

Amid Rumors About Kim’s Health, What Would North Korea Look Like Without Him?

Steven Metz 

On April 15, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to make his annual visit to Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang to celebrate the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who is interred there. In North Korea’s dynastic cult of personality, it was a shocking break from tradition, and sparked reports that Kim had undergone major heart surgery and might even be near death. .

27 April 2020

I Live in South Korea. Here Is What a 'Limited' Reopening from Coronavirus Looks Like.

by Robert E. Kelly
Source Link

South Korea, where I call home, has been widely praised for its handling of the coronavirus. As a democracy, it labors under constraints a dictatorship like China, for example, does not. South Korea nevertheless managed to beat down the virus’ spread to under ten new cases a day this week, and without the kind of social revolt brewing in the United States now.

As everywhere else, there is pressure to re-open. Everyone is bored and frustrated at home. Businesses are struggling. Families are frazzled at having the kids at home all day every day. People are putting on weight because they are watching too much TV and over-eating. All the same sort of complaints accumulating on social media in Western countries exist here too. It’s exhausting.

Indeed, ‘corona fatigue’ set in earlier here. Korea’s clampdown began in mid-March, and one can already see the edges fraying. I see fewer masks on the subways. The lines to pick up government-distributed masks are shorter. Bars and restaurants are filling, where people are sitting in proximity and not wearing masks. Panic buying has stopped (although to be fair, there was never really much). The economic costs of the lockdown are now discussed more frequently on TV (although not nearly as vociferously as on Trumpist media in the U.S.).

25 April 2020

South Korea Offers a Lesson in Best Practices

By Victor Cha
When it comes to the novel coronavirus, South Korea has taken tracing to a new level. When passengers deplane at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, they pass through mandatory temperature checks and are required to download the health ministry’s self-diagnosis app. Once at their destinations, they must use the app every day to self-report any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The movements of those who test positive are tracked, and other people in their vicinity receive social-distancing alerts on their phones.

Most Americans would chafe at this type of Big Brother surveillance as contrary to the values of freedom and privacy, even in these disruptive times. To compare South Korea’s infection numbers with those of the United States, however, is to wonder whether combating the virus and reopening the economy could require temporarily eschewing those values in favor of invasive policies.

The United States and South Korea confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 within a day of each other, but since then, the United States has registered case numbers in six digits, whereas South Korea has barely cracked 10,000 and has witnessed a slowdown in the rate of infection. South Korea’s COVID-19 mortality rate is one-third that of the United States. And per capita, South Korea has tested three times as many citizens as the United States has—thanks in part to South Korean companies, which produce more than 350,000 test kits per day and plan to increase their output to one million.

24 April 2020

What To Do When North Korea Lashes Out During the Coronavirus

By John Dale Grover

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un still denies that his country suffers from the coronavirus. But reports in South Korean media seem to indicate otherwise, suggesting as many as 180 dead and 24,842 released from quarantine. In fact, Pyongyang has already ordered tough social distancing measures that are hurting North Korea’s already-strained economy. When North Korea is hurting, it has a history of lashing out, hoping to start negotiations for aid or sanctions relief. On Tuesday, this happened again: North Korea fired cruise missiles off its east coast. To avoid falling into another escalation cycle, Washington must have a plan for the next time Pyongyang acts up.

Washington does not have the bandwidth or resources to fight another major war and this is made clearer by the coronavirus crisis. Since social distancing measures began in the United States, 16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment. The U.S. economic toll is still rising and may end up costing $4 trillion. Americans do not want another war and North Korea has deadly nuclear missiles that can probably reach most U.S. cities. These are sound reasons why Washington should not overreact to North Korea’s resumption of its habitual missile tests.

22 April 2020

South Korea Offers a Lesson in Best Practices

By Victor Cha

When it comes to the novel coronavirus, South Korea has taken tracing to a new level. When passengers deplane at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, they pass through mandatory temperature checks and are required to download the health ministry’s self-diagnosis app. Once at their destinations, they must use the app every day to self-report any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The movements of those who test positive are tracked, and other people in their vicinity receive social-distancing alerts on their phones.

Most Americans would chafe at this type of Big Brother surveillance as contrary to the values of freedom and privacy, even in these disruptive times. To compare South Korea’s infection numbers with those of the United States, however, is to wonder whether combating the virus and reopening the economy could require temporarily eschewing those values in favor of invasive policies.

The United States and South Korea confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 within a day of each other, but since then, the United States has registered case numbers in six digits, whereas South Korea has barely cracked 10,000 and has witnessed a slowdown in the rate of infection. South Korea’s COVID-19 mortality rate is one-third that of the United States. And per capita, South Korea has tested three times as many citizens as the United States has—thanks in part to South Korean companies, which produce more than 350,000 test kits per day and plan to increase their output to one million.

17 April 2020

South Korea’s Experiment in Pandemic Surveillance

By Eun A Jo

South Korea deployed extensive digital surveillance technologies in fighting coronavirus and it worked: the country has contact-traced thousands of potential patients to test and isolate them before they could unwittingly infect others. The combination of aggressive tracking and early testing allowed the country to flatten the curve and curtail the fatality rate to a third of the global equivalent. Its success shows that countries with comparable capacities can and should adopt apposite surveillance strategies for infectious disease outbreaks, with an eye to minimizing potential privacy costs.

South Korea’s tracking strategy relies heavily on its digital infrastructure. Authorities access a wide range of data — smartphone location history, credit card transactions, immigration records, and CCTV footage — of confirmed patients to compile meticulous logs of their travels and contacts. Certain conditions make this possible: the country ranks among the top in the rate of cashless transactions, mobile phone ownership, and CCTV coverage. In late March, South Korea also launched a centralized data collection platform — devised by the ministries of health, infrastructure, and science and technology — that would diminish the tracking time to under 10 minutes per patient.

Why America Needs to Conclude Alliance Cost Talks With South Korea Now

by Dr. Clint Work

In an April 6 tweet, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wrote that he appreciated South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo taking his call to discuss “the importance of equitable burned sharing across the alliance.” After all, he noted, “It is critical that we get a fair, balanced, and comprehensive agreement signed quickly.” Esper closed with the hashtag #KatchiKapshida, a romanization of the Korean phrase, “Let’s go Together.” It’s a catch phrase common among U.S.-ROK alliance managers and, under current circumstances, pure banality.

At the moment, the allies are neither together nor is it clear where they are going. Despite COVID-19, North Korea continues to build up its conventional—and we have to assume WMD—programs as well. This is why finding a resolution to the cost-sharing issue and restoring confidence in the alliance should not be put on a back burner. It should be prioritized. 

But that is likely wishful thinking. From the outset, President Trump’s approach toward allies has consisted of calculated obtuseness. As a senior White House official with direct access to the president told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine.” Another senior national-security official distilled the same message, if in slightly less sophomoric terms: “Permanent destabilization creates American advantage…They’ll see over time that it doesn’t pay to argue with us.” He was talking about allies and U.S. administration officials have followed suit. 

Almost Secret: China’s Extensive Belt and Road Initiative, Nearly 30 Chinatowns in South Korea – East Asia Research Center


When discussing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, often, nothing is shown on the map for South Korea in major press reporting; however, China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects are active and wide-spread in South Korea. South Korea developed extensive infrastructure decades before China, thus China is not building roads and bridges in an infrastructure-poor country. Instead, China is building enclaves, some of them massive, in South Korea.