This study seeks to examine the regional situations and ongoing changes in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia, hence identify the future of Korea in relation to the geographical and economic context of Northeast Asia, assess the possibility of unification in this context, and suggest a strategy for South Korea.
As witnessed in the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the need to set up a cooperative mechanism of the global economy for its stabilization is rising, while efforts to reduce the widening income gap are also in need. To address these issues, domestic competitiveness needs to be consolidated, professionals trained and efforts towards social equity and stability put in place. Cooperative ties with outside players are also essential. Aside from these measures, other feasible approaches are to globalize the Korean domestic economy, promote Korea-initiated cooperation between multilateral organizations, and establish an organization for Northeast Asia’s economic cooperation. These are expected to induce North Korea’s opening, lead the Korean peninsula to carry out its role as an exchange base in Northeast Asia, and bring about the establishment and development of an industrial network with neighboring countries around a unified Korea.
In the context of the 21st century, Northeast Asia is expected to develop its relationship of cooperation and conflict with the four major powers including the US, Japan, China and Russia. Among this, more attention will have to be paid towards the rise of China. The recession of the Japanese economy and the changes developing in Chinese domestic and foreign politics and policies carry the potential to not only bring a change in the geopolitical structure of Northeast Asia, but also affect the balance and security of the region. Under these circumstances, Korea could carry out its role as a “bridge state” centered on information, which would ignite the North’s economic cooperation. To stay prepared, there is a need to understand the structural characteristics of the economic relationship between South and North Korea along with its decisive environmental factors in the relationship so as to efficiently combine the two economies.
Economic cooperation of Northeast Asia is integral as it can develop interdependence towards intra-regional trade, build intra-regional financial relationships and bring about collective action in addressing environmental problems. However, the regional dominance of China and Japan along with the remnants of the Cold War are obstacles to Northeast Asian cooperation. Considering this, a transnational standpoint, bottom-up approach based on countries’ civic coalition, framework for economic cooperation in Northeast Asia, and economic cooperation between South and North Korea are necessary for the stability and prosperity of the Northeast Asian region. Given the situation, Korea will not only have to carry out its role as an information and logistics hub based on its base for regional manufacturing, but also mediate between countries, consolidate its regional cooperation and industrial network, and play an innovative role for the region’s development. Furthermore, discussions on establishing non-capital cities to prevent the excessive expansion of the capital area in the unification process and strategies on achieving regional development will have to take place.
In relation to the national security of the Korea, South Korea will be able to address complex, variable geoeconomic and geopolitical changes developing within Northeast Asia based on its exerted efforts to prevent North Korea’s erroneous actions and maintain the KOR-US alliance at the same time. If Korea develops its own set of diplomatic plans, it is likely to bring out cooperation in Northeast Asia with its cooperation discourse based on democratic and liberal philosophies. Furthermore, as Korea faces unresolved issues of unification, a potential change in the spatial structure of Northeast Asia and issues of establishing an exchange hub for the region, it will have to set up an international exchange base and a logistics center for the region, also fulfilling mediating industrial cooperation of the region. The country will also have to establish and execute integration strategies for the integration of the Korean peninsula.
By making full utilization of its geopolitical advantage of being located in the center of Northeast Asia, Korea will have to establish a network of cooperation with its neighboring countries by actively carrying out its diplomatic role and promoting liberalization so as to raise the initial levels of Northeast Asian cooperation higher and alleviate concerns of anxiety. These efforts should be done with efforts to become the pivot of Northeast Asia. Unification of the Korean peninsula will ultimately be possible by inducing North Korea’s opening and increasing exchanges of cooperation.
- 21세기 한반도 경영전략(Strategies of the Korean peninsula in the 21st century)
- 홍철; 김원배
21세기 한반도 경영전략(Strategies of the Korean peninsula in the 21st century)
지정학적 접근(From a geopolitical approach)
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Territorial Development < National Land Development|