China’s Korean Policy Under Xi Jinping

Call­ing North Korea’s nuclear weapons pro­gram “an urgent nation­al secu­ri­ty threat and top for­eign pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ty,” Amer­i­can offi­cials are empha­siz­ing the crit­i­cal role of Chi­na in pres­sur­ing Pyongyang to denu­clearize. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who long crit­i­cized Chi­na for “hav­ing done lit­tle to help,” now prais­es Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping. But has China’s North Korea pol­i­cy actu­al­ly changed that dramatically? 

Wang Jianwei photoThat’s the fun­da­men­tal ques­tion Pro­fes­sor Jian­wei Wang of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Macao will take up in a brown bag sem­i­nar pre­sen­ta­tion spon­sored by the East-West Cen­ter Research Pro­gram Thurs­day, May 18, 2017. The sem­i­nar will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall room 3012. 

Wang, who is cur­rent­ly a POSCO vis­it­ing fel­low at the East-West Cen­ter, will exam­ine the extent to which Xi Jinping’s Kore­an pol­i­cy dif­fers from the poli­cies of his pre­de­ces­sors. In par­tic­u­lar, he will look at Xi’s approach to bal­ance rela­tions with North Korea and South Korea, how his Kore­an pol­i­cy influ­ences Sino-Amer­i­can rela­tions, and the prospects of more con­se­quen­tial coöper­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and Chi­na on North Korea? 

Jian­wei Wang is a pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Gov­ern­ment and Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion and direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Glob­al and Pub­lic Affairs at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Macao. He received his Ph.D. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan. His teach­ing and research focus on Sino-Amer­i­can rela­tions, Chi­nese for­eign pol­i­cy, and East Asian inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. He has pub­lished exten­sive­ly in these areas.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, con­tact Cyn­thia Nakachi (nakachic@eastwestcenter.org) in the East-West Cen­ter Pro­gram Office.

Memory of a Revolution Revisited at the End of East-West Road

Kim Suk seminar artCen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies vis­it­ing schol­ar Suk Kim will dis­cuss his ongo­ing writ­ing projects in a sem­i­nar Thurs­day, April 13, 2017, at the Cen­ter. Kim’s pre­sen­ta­tion, “Mem­o­ry of a Rev­o­lu­tion Revis­it­ed at the End of East-West Road,” will take place in the Center’s con­fer­ence room at 11:00 a.m.

Kim SukSuk Kim is an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture at Kyung Hee Uni­ver­si­ty, where he teach­es twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry British and Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture. He earned his Ph.D. in Eng­lish and Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture at New York Uni­ver­si­ty in 2006 with a dis­ser­ta­tion on the works of James Joyce.

Kim’s talk will the­mat­i­cal­ly string togeth­er the cen­tral the­ses of two of his crit­i­cal writ­ings in progress. He will, he says, “draw atten­tion to the lega­cy of rev­o­lu­tion whose time­less injunc­tion for a gen­uine change invites the improb­a­ble jux­ta­po­si­tion of the late ‘Can­dle­light Rev­o­lu­tion’ in South Korea (which is cred­it­ed with over­throw­ing the klep­to­crat­ic régime of Geun-hye Park) with the bio­graph­i­cal mem­oir by Kim San and Nym Wales titled Song of Ari­ran: A Kore­an Com­mu­nist in the Chi­nese Rev­o­lu­tion (1941).”

Kim elab­o­rates fur­ther: “There are, of course, many types of rev­o­lu­tion, just as there are as many ways of defin­ing them. Nonethe­less, inso­far as every the­o­ry of rev­o­lu­tion pre­sup­pos­es the com­ing of a cer­tain end of the world, an irrepara­ble rup­ture to the idea as well as the expe­ri­ence of life as we have known it (be it sociopo­lit­i­cal, politi­co-eco­nom­ic, ‘tele-tech­no­log­i­cal,’ and so on), the two dis­parate sub­ject mat­ters (a his­toric event and a lit­er­ary text) con­join to remind us, via the per­for­ma­tive event­ful­ness they respec­tive­ly enact, what may be at stake in endeav­or­ing a gen­uine trans­for­ma­tion apro­pos of an indi­vid­ual sub­ject as well as the col­lec­tive sub­jec­tiv­i­ty: name­ly, the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of such con­cep­tu­al bina­ries as the East and the West, the human vis-a-vis the animal(s), not to men­tion the very idea of being ver­sus haunt­ing in our glob­al­ized age.”

Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies events are free and open to all. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, includ­ing infor­ma­tion regard­ing access for the hand­i­capped, tele­phone the Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies at (808) 956‑7041. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/​affirmative action Institution.

Political Economy of South Korea and the Northeast Asia Region

Jonathan Westover speaks about political economy of South KoreaThe East-West Cen­ter Research Pro­gram will present a dis­cus­sion of aspects of the polit­i­cal econ­o­my of South Korea and the North­east Asian region on Wednes­day, June 22, 2016, at 12 noon in Burns Hall room 3012. 

The speak­er will be EWC POSCO Vis­it­ing Fel­low Jonathan West­over. His top­ic is “The Evolv­ing Inter­na­tion­al Polit­i­cal Econ­o­my of South Korea and the North­east Asian Region: A Focus on Shift­ing Work­place Ori­en­ta­tion, 1981 – 2014.”

Accord­ing to West­over, cross-dis­ci­pli­nary research on work­er atti­tudes and work­place con­di­tions has linked work­er expe­ri­ences to many indi­vid­ual, orga­ni­za­tion­al, and social out­comes. Such research has failed, how­ev­er, to shed light on why cross-nation­al dif­fer­ences in work­er sat­is­fac­tion and engage­ment and their deter­mi­nants per­sist. Some research sug­gests that dif­fer­ences are due to cul­tur­al fac­tors, but this approach has failed to show why coun­tries with sim­i­lar cul­tur­al ori­en­ta­tions still expe­ri­ence sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences. Thus there remain ques­tions about the caus­es of the dif­fer­ences and the long-term effects of sus­tain­able eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and labor pros­per­i­ty. More­over, few stud­ies have looked at changes in work qual­i­ty cross-nation­al­ly from the per­spec­tive of work­ers while account­ing for coun­try-con­tex­tu­al characteristics.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Institutionalization of Corruption in South Korea

Olli Hellmann speaks on corruption in South KoreaThe East-West Cen­ter Research Pro­gram brown-bag pre­sen­ta­tion on Wednes­day, June 1, 2016, will fea­ture pol­i­tics spe­cial­ist Olli Hell­mann speak­ing on “The Insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of Cor­rup­tion in South Korea.” Hell­mann is a lec­tur­er in pol­i­tics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sus­sex in the Unit­ed King­dom and is cur­rent­ly a POSCO vis­it­ing fel­low at the East-West Cen­ter. His pre­sen­ta­tion will take place from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall room 3012.

Accord­ing to Hell­mann, South Korea appears to be strug­gling more than oth­er indus­tri­al­ized democ­ra­cies to com­bat cor­rupt prac­tices by pub­lic office hold­ers. His pre­sen­ta­tion will argue that con­ven­tion­al anti-cor­rup­tion approach­es have failed to uproot cor­rup­tion in South Korea, as par­tic­u­lar­is­tic exchanges are insti­tu­tion­al­ized in infor­mal net­works that con­nect polit­i­cal elites to pri­vate busi­ness. By gen­er­at­ing social cap­i­tal and har­bor­ing cor­rup­tion-spe­cif­ic know-how, these net­works can evade mon­i­tor­ing and resist pun­ish­ment. Through a com­par­i­son with oth­er cap­i­tal­ist coun­tries in East Asia, he will trace the insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of cor­rup­tion back to the “crit­i­cal junc­ture” at which orga­ni­za­tions for mass mobi­liza­tion were first estab­lished in the mid-twen­ti­eth century. 

Olli Hellmann’s research on par­ty orga­ni­za­tion and par­ty sys­tems in East Asia has been pub­lished in a mono­graph titled Polit­i­cal Par­ties and Elec­toral Strat­e­gy: The Devel­op­ment of Par­ty Orga­ni­za­tion in East Asia (Pal­grave Macmil­lan) and in a num­ber of peer-reviewed jour­nals, such as Par­ty Pol­i­tics and the Jour­nal of East Asian Stud­ies. More recent­ly, his research has shift­ed toward issues of state build­ing and cor­rup­tion. Fund­ing for this new research has come from the UK’s Eco­nom­ic and Social Research Coun­cil (ESRC) and the British Academy/​DFID Anti-Cor­rup­tion Evi­dence (ACE) Partnership.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, con­tact the East-West Cen­ter Research Program.

Water Management and Climate Policy in South Korea

The East-West Cen­ter Research Pro­gram will present a noon­time brown-bag talk on water man­age­ment and cli­mate pol­i­cy in South Korea Wednes­day, May 18, 2016, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall 3012. The speak­er will be Hyun Jung Park, cur­rent­ly a POSCO vis­it­ing fel­low at the East-West Cen­ter. Her pre­sen­ta­tion is titled “Eval­u­a­tion of Adap­tive Water Man­age­ment in the Con­text of South Korea Cli­mate Policy.”

area of water management and climate policy studyTo cope with grow­ing water demand and cli­mate-relat­ed stress­es, the Repub­lic of Korea gov­ern­ment con­duct­ed the Four Major Rivers Restora­tion Project. Com­plet­ed in 2011, the project includ­ed the Han, Nakdong, Kŭm, and Yŏngsan rivers and applied a con­trol-based approach rely­ing heav­i­ly on tech­ni­cal solu­tions. The project was imple­ment­ed under the slo­gan “low car­bon and green growth,” but there were no clear expla­na­tions of how it con­tributed to the “low car­bon” goal. 

Hyun Jung Park’s research aims to find evi­dence to con­firm whether it was a project for “low car­bon” by esti­mat­ing green­house gas emis­sions and removals due to the land-use changes caused by the project. Her study focus­es on 40 kilo­me­ters of the Nakdong Riv­er, which rep­re­sent­ed 7 per­cent of the area of the restora­tion project. Park will share the results of her inves­ti­ga­tion (for exam­ple, big changes in pat­terns and capac­i­ties of green­house gas emissions/​removals in the riv­er basin and high lev­el of car­bon emis­sions par­tic­u­lar­ly due to the reduced for­est land). She will also dis­cuss pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions for effec­tive water man­age­ment in the con­text of Korea cli­mate policy.

Hyun Jung Park is an inde­pen­dent schol­ar from Seoul. Until recent­ly, she worked as a pro­gram offi­cer for the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, where she gen­er­at­ed ana­lyt­i­cal reports and method­olog­i­cal guidelines/​tools for pol­i­cy-stan­dard units in the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Mech­a­nism Pro­gramme. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was a post­doc­tor­al fel­low at Geor­gia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. She received her Ph.D. in pub­lic pol­i­cy from Geor­gia State University’s Andrew Young School of Pol­i­cy Stud­ies, a master’s degree in city/​environmental plan­ning from Seoul Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, and a bachelor’s degree in chem­istry from Kyung Hee University.