During the spring season just passed, our team at SinoNK was actively engaged in the preparation of various documents pertinent to the past, present, and future of Northeast Asia. Today, Steven Denney, our perspicacious Assistant Editor in Seoul, has made available for SinoNK readers an edifying selection of digital copies from the latest issue of PEAR, The Yonsei Journal of International Studies, the journal of which he serves as Editor-in-Chief. — Adam Cathcart
Yonsei Journal of International Studies, Vol 4, Issue I: Good Reads in the “Age of the Pivot”
by Steven Denney
How will Asia look in the coming years, as a refocused America looks to engage a region itself becoming increasingly dependent on China for economic growth, leading to what some have labeled a new “bi-furcated” regional order, where countries in the region look to China for trade and investment but to America for security? This is the new Asia, or, stated alternatively, “Asia in the Age of the Pivot,” the theme of this issue of Papers, Essays and Reviews. Between the covers of this issue, readers will find a multitude of perspectives on pertinent topics spanning a host of issues concerning Asia in a new and exciting age. There are five papers contributed by graduate students from all across the world, two essays submitted by professors with extensive knowledge and expertise in Asia, one interview with a renowned Yonsei professor and six reviews written by members of the PEAR staff.
Select Publications from the Latest Issue: IR, Regional Leadership and “Music Diplomacy” | In “A Conspicuous Absence: Balance of Power Politics in East Asia and Their Challenge to International Relations Theory,” Benjamin Knight, graduate student at UC Berkeley, critically reexamines balance of power theory — or its absence — in East Asia. By using theories grounded in the distribution of geopolitical power, Knight seeks explanation for the lack of balancing against a rising China. He finds that neither US military presence nor structural inhibitions based on national power discrepancies are the reason for an absence of balancing, suggesting the need for alternative explanations.
For those interested in South Korea’s 21st century role in Northeast Asia, “Institutionalizing East Asia: South Korea’s Regional Leadership as a Middle Power,” by José Guerra Vio, PhD candidate at National Chengchi (Politics) University, Taiwan (NCCU), makes for an interesting read. José looks at the role South Korea plays as a middle power in the ongoing process of regional institutionalization in Northeast Asia. By looking at Korea’s foreign policy choices and the approaches taken by recent administrations, he finds that Korea’s impact as a hub between larger powers in the region is a very positive one.
Pushing the contemporary buzzwords of “soft power” and “smart diplomacy” back in time, SinoNK’s own Adam Cathcart explores “the transformative power of music in diplomatic relations” during President Richard Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in early 1972. By focusing on the “encounter and struggle” of two fundamentally different musical schemes, Cathcart reveals the way music transcends the realm of harp and chord and enters the realm of diplomacy.
In a PEAR exclusive interview, Yonsei Professor Moon Chung-in provides readers with an insightful take on a breadth of issues facing countries throughout Asia. Professor Moon’s comments provide readers with a perspective from someone who has been active in many realms of Asian affairs, spanning many years and several different administrations. In addition to his myriad of posts, government and academic, Moon has traveled twice with the South Korean delegation to Pyongyang. Accordingly, his survey of the “Asia pivot,” Korea’s role in a new regional order, power transition in North Korea and the politicization of the North Korean refugee issue leaves no topic untouched.
This issue’s “Reviews” section delves into an array of works, including Michael Beckley’s arguments in International Security on the unipolar era, Japan’s “Lost Decade” and the “Fingleton dialogue,” a re-examination at Wang Jisi and Kenneth Lieberthal’s monograph on US-China “strategic distrust.” SinoNK staff — including Analyst for Refugee Issues Brian Gleason and part-time translator Joe Litt — contribute writing here, including a critical overview of undercover reporting in North Korea.
Good and Timely Reads from the Previous Issue: Jeju and Sun-Tzu | This piece by Jay Hauben, spouse of freelance journalist and blogger Ronda Hauben, provides readers with some historical perspective on Jeju Island as a geographical unit separate from the peninsula. Hauben looks at the tempestuous years 1945-1946 and draws a historical continuity to the present, focusing on the controversy surrounding the construction of the Jeju naval base.
For another historical perspective, this interview with Yonsei Professor John Delury explores the historical foundations of Sino-North Korean relations that can help those seeking a better understanding of contemporary Sino-North Korean relations–a pertinent and volatile issue.
Lastly, Seoul National University graduate student Doori C. Song, in an essay entitled “The Art of Maritime War: a ‘Heads-Up’ From Sun Tzu on Sino-American Maritime Relations,” finds that Sun-Tzu, in his well-known work The Art of War, provides good advice for US policymakers struggling to find a way to “rebalance” US Pacific policy in the age of “China’s rise.”
If readers of SinoNK would like a copy of PEAR mailed to their doorstep, free of charge, please email the Business Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org, ATTN: Vol. 4, No. 1. Or, starting next week, visit the fifth floor of New Millennium Hall at Yonsei University. Copies will be available outside the GSIS office.