The government of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has adopted the catchphrase “Global Korea” to signify its desire to play a more assertive role as a contributor to the international community. The same aspiration is reflected in South Korea’s emerging approach to global security issues as reflected in its 2008 Defense White Paper (.pdf), which states that in addition to maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula and building the foundations for national security and prosperity, a core national security objective is “enhancing competence and status internationally.” This widening outlook is particularly striking to those who are accustomed to Korea’s longstanding […]

Food prices in Asia continue to be above what they were prior to the 2007-2008 surge. Worse, there are signs that they may increase once again owing to the existence of similar conditions, such as excess demand and rising input prices due to the increasing cost of oil. Presently, rising food prices are leading to the region’s major economies re-orienting their food management policies — a step that is likely to be the harbinger of a tougher stance by the region on the Doha Round of trade talks as well as on climate change issues. The major rice-exporting countries of […]

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, until the Cold War structure took shape, the Korean Peninsula was a geopolitical fault line between the continental forces of China and Russia and the maritime forces of Japan and America, and an arena in which a struggle for expansion of influence played out. Upon the end of Japan’s colonial rule in 1945, the Korean peninsula was suddenly transformed into a stage for the ideological confrontation between the East and West, centered around the United States and the Soviet Union, despite the Korean people’s desire to build an independent nation. Since 1948, the 85,270 […]

As president of the G-20 this year, South Korea seemingly has an appetite for tackling the global economy’s biggest problems. And few challenges loom larger than the significant global imbalances that helped pave the way for the recent international financial crisis. The Koreans have been busy promoting an apparently novel solution to this very problem: an international currency swap regime. But how would such an arrangement work, and could it actually help correct current imbalances? As important, is there any chance this idea will get off the ground? The global economy of today is — and has been for some […]