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Korea Observer

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Although 30 years have passed since the ASEAN-Korea dialogue partnership began, the two sides political and security relations remain irregular and limited. Although such limits have been widely recognized, they have rarely been examined comprehensively. This study aims to address this gap by focusing on Korean executive leadership as key diplomatic actors who are shaping an inconsistent and distant partnership with ASEAN. The findings show that the executives changing conceptualizations of the regions and the approaches to regional security with limited agency independence in the bureaucracy have been major obstacles to finding a reliable common ground for institutionalizing cooperation with ASEAN.
What a re the Chinese p erspectives on Korean unification, and what a re the concerns and expectations? The English-language literature on this subject lacks citations from primary sources to claim a wide survey of Chinese perspectives. Based upon the 62 Chinese journal articles and 29 expert commentaries in Chinese, I infer a broad spectrum of Chinese thinking on the Korea unification. I find that the Chinese analysts have contemplated a relatively more moderate approach to managing the Korean unification process with the US than often assumed outside China. In this context, I argue that there is a room for negotiation to enhance the crisis-management mechanism with China on the affairs of Korean unification. This article contributes to broadening the extant body of knowledge on the China-Korean Peninsula relations by identifying the breadth of the Chinese views on the Korean unification.
Given the lack of empirical research on the links between public diplomacy (PD) and sporting events, this study aimed to conceptualize, as an analytical framework, a model of National Role Conceptions (NRC) for Sport Public Diplomacy (Sport PD) in network governance. Considering the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as a case study, this paper reveals four distinct articulations of Sport PD: (1) convertibility of soft power sources to governmental behavior; (2) a cohesive national identity with cultural prestige and national appeal; (3) mechanisms of global sport governance; (4) national roles, not necessarily confined to national identity, undertaken according to diplomatic purposes, as shown in the specific case of South Korea. These purposes included Motivator for global peace, Signifier of pan-Koreanism, and Rule-Changer of geopolitical power structure, according to their respective points in time (before, during, and after the Olympics). In addition, this paper reveals the limitations of Sport PD and concludes with some recommendations on inter-Korean relations.
It is generally accepted that social capital can moderate the relationship between government performance and citizens trust in their government. However, this idea has yet to be empirically examined in Asian contexts. This paper makes two major contributions to existing research. First, it uses survey data from 2011 to examine whether existing theories about social capital hold true in Korean contexts. Second, it tests whether other contextual factors have more explanatory power than social capital regarding peoples trust in government in Korean contexts. It employs two additional contextual factors - political ideology and media influence - to its analysis, and demonstrates that these factors have more significant roles than social capital in moderating peoples trust in government.
Investments in education are to be positive for the individual and to tend to be perceived as the wider good of society. However, the South Korean government is seeking to diminish the amount that families expend on private tutoring due to the excessive financial burden it places on households and the negative implications it may have for society. Despite these regulations, household expenditures on supplementary tutoring are on the rise in Korea, and this follows a wider trend of consumers choosing private tutoring worldwide. Why would consumers spend excessive money on the private supplementary tutoring despite its negative consequences on their own household finances? We conducted qualitative interviews with parents and children who purchase and use the private supplementary tutoring. We then conceptualized the consumption motivation for private supplementary tutoring, building on theories of attribution, status competition, and institutionalization. We also identified hidden motivations and discussed the policy implications of the findings.
This research examines how the changing demographic characteristics of voters affect generational structure of voters group and voting behavior on the presidential vote in South Korea. To do this, this research investigates the results from presidential elections in 2007 and 2017 by using the election data from 1997 as our baseline year which is not only recognized as the second presidential election corresponding with a democratic procedure, but regarded as a beginning of democratic consolidation in South Korea. Particularly, this research focuses on investigating how generational shifts in the Seoul metropolitan area (SMA) where has experienced dramatic demographic changes in the process of democratization since 1990s affect voters decision by categorizing 66 local government entities within the SMA according to changes in population demographics as well as political ideology. The results indicate that voters age is significantly correlated with the vote decision by ideological orientations, but its influence dramatically decreased in recent elections. Furthermore, this research utilized cluster analysis and ArcGIS to examine the similarity of municipalities within the SMA by clustering voters demographics and election results (political orientations) based on the data from the 66 municipalities of the SMA. The cluster results indicate that these municipalities could be divided into six clusters by population aging and the level of conservatism of political orientation. It is interesting to note that certain phenomenon across cluster types appeared very similar, yet the cause of these phenomena was completely different.
How can a non-powerful minority in the policymaking process realise its preferred policy? To answer this question, this research applies the advocacy coalition framework (ACF), which emphasises contestation among groups with different belief systems (advocacy coalitions: ACs). By examining the case of self-sufficiency organisations under the public assistance scheme in South Korea (hereafter, Korea), this research argues that, even though it is a minority third-party, an AC (in this research, advocates of the social economy (SE)) can promote its favoured policy as a policy solution to a conflict between two mutually-contending major ACs (in this research, productivists and advocates of social citizenship). This research contributes practically to studies of the SE by showing how contemporary social economy organisations (SEOs) can be promoted on alien soil. The research also contributes theoretically to the ACF by adding to it a third-party minority AC s possible role as a policy entrepreneur.