Culture in South Korea

Have you ever thought about how many different cultures there are around the globe? No two cultures will ever be the same, they are all very unique in their own ways. One of these global countries is South Korea. The United States has a great relationship with South Korea. After World War II and the Korean War, the United States is currently at peace with South Korea. The relationship with the United States is just one of the many things that South Korea can offer from it’s country. From the amazing physical features, exciting holidays and traditions, and also to the government and economy, this is just one of the beautiful countries to look into.

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The country we are researching is South Korea. It is located on the continent Asia, below North Korea, and it is near Japan and China. South Korea is 38,691 miles squared while the U.S is 3,797,000 miles squared. That is about 20% of the size of California! Even though South Korea is that small, it has a population of about 55.22 million people. South Korea consists of mostly mountains in the east, and has many coastlines and beaches in the south. Unfortunately, many of the mountains and coastlines are taken up by buildings, and apartments, but still many of them exist allowing one to travel these natural formations. Even though with many of the natural formations still around, South Korea is starting to lose many of their natural resources due to the  resources being over harvested. Some of the natural resources are still around and grown, like food, but most of it are brought in from other countries because Korea had either gotten rid of these natural materials by building many factories and housing over them, or over harvested them. Going through the list of South Korea’s physical features, South Korea has very different climates all throughout the 4 seasons. The spring and fall are very short with temperatures that are between summer and winter. On the other hand, summer is very humid and hot while winter is long, cold, and dry.
South Korea has the fourth largest economy in the world. South Korea made about 1.679 trillion ppp dollars in their gross national product in 2013, and their per capita income for 2013 was 33,440 ppp dollars. Most of the economy of South Korea comes from the companies and business that the people make. Many people in South Korea work in some form of business rather than agriculture. Usually people in the countryside work with the agriculture and livestock. Typically the farmers grow barley, wheat, rice, soybeans, and root vegetables, and they have livestock such as cows, pigs, and chickens.
Korea’s form of government is a Parliamentary Democracy. This means that that the country has a president and a prime minister. Currently the president in South Korea is Park Geun-hye and the prime minister is Hwang Kyo-ahn. Their Judicial system consists of the Supreme court of South Korea. The constitutional court of South Korea, six high courts, 13 district courts, family court, and a Administrative court. Their military headquarters are in Seoul, South Korea, and their minister of defense is Han-Min Goo. Also, Korea’s crime rate is considered low.
Now the “tour” heading towards the South Korean’s culture, money holidays, etc. The currency for South Korea is called won. The country was created in around the 1950s after the war between North and South Korea. The main language for Korea is Korean, but other languages are starting to come in, for example English. Korean or Hangul was created by King Sejong in 1443 to help the common people to speak and write, before that a writing style called Hanja was used. The Capital of South Korea is Seoul. Like the capital Seoul, many other cities are urban cities, but that doesn’t mean that there is not rural areas. Most of the rural areas are inhabited by much older people, while the urban consists of many younger people. South Koreans eat many different types of foods. Two biggest foods that they eat is Kimchi and Rice. Koreans even eat rice for breakfast, so they don’t really eat the traditional things like cereal, pancakes, eggs and bacon. They also eat all sorts of seafood, and eats some things that people will call disgusting. One of the greatest thing about Korea, is that they deliver many different types of food to people’s homes, and they also have many places where they sell street foods.
There are many different holidays and events in Korea. The Two big holidays in Korea are Chuseok, Korea’s version of Thanksgiving and Seollal or Korean Lunar New Year. Both years are celebrated by seeing family and eating many different types of food. In Seollal, a tradition food called Tteokguk (rice cake soup) is eaten. Also, people play yutnori as a fun games. In Chuseok a food called Songpyeon, a Korean traditional rice cake which usually contains sesame seeds and honey as stuffing, but other ingredients such as black beans, mung beans, cinnamon, pine nut, walnut, chestnut, and jujube are used, is eaten and trade with neighbors. In both holidays, Koreans give respect to their elders and their ancestors, and wear traditional Korean clothes called Hanbok, hanbok is also wore during weddings by the bride and groom. Both holidays don’t have an exact date and change each year depending on the Lunar calendar. Besides these holidays, Koreans have many special events. For example on November 11th, it is Pepero Day. This day is really meaningless, but it is a fun day where Pepero is on special discounts and sales. It is on November 11th because 11/11 is like the Pepero sticks. There are also many other meaningless, but fun “holidays” like Pepero Day. Other holidays, for example, are like Children’s Day.

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However, even with these fun holidays, education still plays a big important role to the people of Korea, and the holidays shouldn’t take away the students’ focus of their work. In South Korea the literacy rate is 99.2% for males and for female it’s 96.6%. If you think school is hard here in America, well you are wrong. Most high school students in Korea attend school from 9am to 5pm, and they also take additional night schools and after school. However, students only take high school for three years because a year in a grade is usually longer than America. Even by a young grade like first grade, children start going to after school and are given a lot of work. Many of these students end up taking up the business career because that is what most of the Korea’s economy is made out of.
South Korea is unique from the U.S because of many reasons. One of these reasons is that in South Korea people eat seaweed soup, miyeokguk, during their birthdays. This is unique because in the U.S we eat cake. Another reason is that originally it was illegal to marry someone with the same surname. This is because the same surname makes someone distantly related, so you are technically marrying someone you are related too. Another thing is Koreans are actually very strict about a lot of things. For example, if a famous person makes a tiny mistake of driving after drinking, they could lose all their fame and may never even be able to come back in television. These are some unique things that South Korea has.
South Korea is a very interesting and fun country. It is not just a country about K-Pop, (Korean pop), it is more than that. In our tour we experienced government, economy, holidays, and education. If you are a traveler or want to go to somewhere for a short vacation trip, South Korea is a place for you.

Short and Long Term Effects of Japan’s Occupation of Korea

RQ: What were the short-term and long-term political, social, and economic effects during the occupation of Korea by Japan from 1910-1945? 


Argument: Although the horrific acts of the Japanese people almost destroyed the Korean people as a nation, Korea emerged from this time of struggle stronger than ever.  Now, they are ranked 12th in the GDP Ranking of the World after only 70 years of rebuilding themselves.


–          Short-term social effect: Koreans were not allowed to speak their language in schools and were abused in their own country-including forceful worship of Japanese gods and women served as sex slaves (400)

–          Short-term economic effect: Korea was modernized but was still under the control of the Japanese (400)

–          Long-term political effect: 3 separate sovereign nations now because the government was torn, Korea was split into North and South (400)

–          Long-term social effect: Koreans who still remember their past experiences still carry negative sentiments towards Japanese people but the younger generation is more tolerant (400)

–          Long-term economic effect: Since then, South Korea’s economy has skyrocketed and is now the 4th richest nation in Asia (North Korea has not prospered as much) (400)

–          Korea’s influence (K-pop, K-drama, food, Olympics) (200)

–          The current relationship between Korea and Japan (200)

–          Restatement of argument and conclusion (200)



–          Although the Korean people/identities were destroyed during the Japanese occupation through means of government takeover, social abuse, economic restrictions, and causing a political split, they rebuilt themselves and are now one of the most influential nations in the world


 Korea, otherwise known as “The Hermit Kingdom”, was a targeted nation throughout much of history.  Mongolia, China, Japan, and other nations surrounding the small country sought to invade and take from it.  Suffering from numerous invasions and destruction, Chosun (Korea’s dynasty at the time) closed its borders.  When European nations during the Age of Exploration who sought to trade and conquer were met with Chosun’s seclusion, they dubbed the tiny nation “The Hermit Kingdom”.  Despite this, Korea still faced invasion and attack from outside forces until 1910, where they underwent the most devastating invasion of all.  The Japanese Empire, through years of intimidation, annexed Korea.  The Korean people’s identities were shattered and they were abused in their own homes.  The invasion left Korea completely changed forever.  For 35 years, the Korean people suffered.  But in 1945, Korea was liberated as a result of the end of WWII.  With Korea left without a leader, many parties scrambled to be on top.  There were two leaders who rose up and represented different ideals.  Kim Il Sung, from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Syngman Rhee, from the Republic of Korea.  The two sides fought during the Korean War.  This led to the split of Korea; the creation of the North and the South.  The war ended in an armistice that lasted for many years.  Despite these setbacks, the Korean people persevered and now, South Korea has become one of the wealthiest nations in the world.  Just a couple of years ago, even the thought of North Korea and South Korea coming together to meet was unheard of.  Recently, not only has North Korea been more open and engaged in the international community, they have had several meetings with both South Korea and the US.  The Korean people are a reflection of how people can recover despite past struggles and hardships.  Although the Korean people/identities were destroyed during the Japanese occupation through means of government takeover, social abuse, economic restrictions, and a political split, they rebuilt themselves to be one of the most influential nations in the world.  In this Extended Essay, I will address the question: What were the short-term and long-term political, social, and economic effects during the occupation of Korea by Japan from 1910-1945? 

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 In order to analyze the effects of the occupation, one must understand the history and background of Japan and Korea’s relationship.  For centuries, the two nations fought and rarely got along.  Japan was more powerful and had a greater army than Korea did.  As a result, it was Japan who sought dominance over the small hermit kingdom.  Tensions between the two nations were always high and many wars ensued.  Despite the efforts to resist control, Korea (known as Joseon at the time) started to fall into Japan’s hands during the Kanghwa Treaty of 1876 (explain).  Since Korea followed the isolationist policy, they blocked out all foreign ideas and culture from their kingdom.  But many Western nations sought to trade with them during the mid-nineteenth century.  Initially, Korea was under the protection of China.  China did not force their militaries or government over Korea and let Korea rule themselves somewhat autonomously.  However, China was falling to Western influence.  The Opium Wars reduced China’s large kingdom down to half.  Korea, seeing this, turned to Japan for protection.   At the same time, Japan was also falling under Western influence.  So, Japan used the Kanghwa Treaty to garner more control of Korea just as Westerners did to them.  They wanted to remove Chinese influence in Korea to make occupation easier for them. 

From 1904-1905, the Japanese and Russians fought the Russo-Japanese War.  Czar Nicholas of Russia sought to use Korea’s peninsula as a navy and trade base.  But the Japanese were afraid of growing Russian influence and wanted to stop them.  This war was seen as one of the final catalysts of Japan’s occupation of Korea. 

In 1905, Japan and the US signed the Taft-Katsura Agreement.  At this point, Japan was the only nation fighting for the rule of Korea.  The Taft-Katsura Agreement allowed the US to recognize Japan’s colonization over Korea and in turn, Japan’s recognition of the US’s takeover in the Philippines.  The Koreans felt that this violated the previously agreed Korean-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1882 (explain).  The US indirectly allowed Japan to take control of Korea because the treaty promised peace between them.  But with the Taft-Katsura Agreement, this peace was broken by a third party (Japan). 

Eventually, this led to the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910 and started the era of desolation for Koreans.  Essentially, Japan tried to steal Korea’s identity.  The Annexation Treaty stated that the Emperor of Korea had to give full sovereignty over to the Emperor of Japan.  How did Japan establish full control over Korea?  By targeting their culture.  The Korean people could not speak their language and hundreds of thousands of historical documents were burned.  Many Korean women were turned into sex slaves for the Japanese military.  Japan stole Korea’s land by settling and growing new trees/plants in place of Korea’s natural and indigenous environment.  Even Korea’s religion was targeted.  Japan forced Koreans to worship their gods in order to fully assimilate and change them.  Korean names were changed to fit Japanese names.  It wasn’t Korea anymore, it was a colony of Japan. 

 Although Japan had complete control over Korea, the hermit kingdom was not planning to go down without a fight.  During the 35 years Japan occupied Korea, there was a series of unsuccessful resistance movements led by those desperate for liberation.  The first of many revolts was the March 1st Movement.  In 1919, 33 activists gathered and read off grievances against the Japanese government to protest.  They claimed that the Japanese were destroying the Korean identity and stealing what was once theirs.  Some grievances included discrimination, heavy taxes, and suppressed Korean language and culture.  The March 1st Movement sparked the Korean Independence Movement.  From then on, there were many liberation-focused groups fighting for independence.  Religious parties (Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians) created liberation armies such as the Donghak Peasant Revolution and the Korean Independence Army to combat the Japanese.  However, many of these resistance fighters were massacred by Japanese soldiers.  The soldiers wanted to suppress the Korean identity and turn them into slaves for Japan.  Almost 2,000,000 Korean people participated in 1,500 protests.  7,000 were killed, 16,000 were wounded, and almost 1,000 Korean buildings were burned down.  The March 1st Movement had such a great impact on the liberation era in Korea that it became a holiday in both the North and the South.

 The short-term political effect of the Japanese takeover of Korea was that at the time, Korea’s government was run by Japanese officials.  In 1895, the last Queen of Korea, Empress Myeongseong (otherwise known as Queen Min), was assassinated.  Due to Japanese influence and fear of takeover, Queen Min was desperate for an ally.  She turned to Russia and tried to gain favor from them to aid Korea in the struggle against Japan.  When the Japanese found out of Queen Min’s resistance efforts, a man named Miura Goro enacted “Operation Fox Hunt”.  The plan was to enlist both Japanese and traitorous Korean assassins to kill Queen Min.  Following the assassination, Emperor Gojong (Queen Min’s husband) founded the Korean Empire.  This new era took the place of the Joseon Dynasty and was an effort to modernize and Westernize Korea.  However, with constant economic and military pressure from the Japanese, the Korean Empire was quickly dissolved.  With the Taft-Katsura Treaty in 1905, Korea was made a protectorate of Japan.  Japan sought to implement many reforms in Korea with the intent of decreasing Korea’s power.  One such reform was the reduction of the Korean Army.  Military units spread throughout Korea were eliminated and the army was reduced.  By doing this, Japan removed any possibility of a rebellion and resistance of Korean forces.  After 1906, Japan’s employment rate in Korea’s government skyrocketed.  In 1908, 40.7% of government officials were Japanese.  With the new governmental reforms, Japan created new positions and kicked out old Korean officials.  Koreans who spoke Japanese were given priority in government jobs as an effort to gradually integrate the Japanese language into Korean society.  By doing so, they carved away a bit of the Korean people’s identity over time.  Seven out of thirteen governors were replaced and out of 143 magistrates, 49 were removed, 44 were appointed, and 27 transferred to other parts of the government.  In 1909, Japan also had the policy to have at least one Japanese official in each magistracy.  Japan also centralized the government to have a more concentrated influence over institutions like the court and police.  The Japanese gendarmerie took over Korea’s policing power and each prefecture had a head inspector.  In 1910, Japan successfully annexed Korea with the Japan-Korea Treaty.  In the treaty, it stated that “His Majesty the Emperor of Korea concedes completely and definitely his entire sovereignty over the whole Korean territory to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.” and that “His Majesty the Emperor of Japan accepts the concession stated in the preceding article and consents to the annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan.”.  The treaty was agreed upon through force.  Emperor Gojong had no intention of signing it but had no choice.  He was powerless against the Japanese influence and strength.  The police and military had immense power.  Many future laws and regulations were implemented by force.  At this point, much of the country was run by the gendarmerie and military.   This was only a short-term effect because the government takeover ended in 1945.  However, it still made an enormous impact on Korea.  For the time, the Korean people were oppressed and powerless.  Because its core strength, its government, was eliminated, the Koreans could do nothing. 

The short-term social effect of the occupation was the broken Korean identity.  The Japanese wanted to assimilate the Koreans as best they could to absorb them as part of themselves. 

The heart of a nation is its language.  When Japan occupied Korea, one of the first things they did was to subdue the Korean language.  One way of doing this was through censorship through the Advisory Police Board.  This committee was created in 1906 “to examine the draft of each paper or to prohibit the publication of the same if facts were misinterpreted or comments made injurious to public peace”.  In 1907, the Shinmun Ji Bop, or Newspaper Law, created restrictions on Korea’s freedom of the press.  The law allowed Japanese officials to seize and check newspapers.  Every newspaper required permission from the Minister of Home Affairs in order to be published.  Since Korean newspapers were censored, many were discontinued.  Only one, the Taehan Maeil Sinbo continued to deliver news in Korean.  From 1910-1921, the Japanese burned 200,000 ancient Korean historical texts.  These records were lost and much of the historical information we have today is written by others like the Japanese, not the Koreans.  Another way the Japanese restricted the Korean language was by limiting speaking Korean in schools.  While the language was still allowed, Korean was only allowed in the Korean language classes.  Many businesses and shops had signs in Japanese as well.  In 1937, Japanese officials decreed that students could not speak Korean in schools and that all classes were to be taught in Japanese.  In 1939, Sōshi-kaimei, or the changing of the family name, was implemented by the Japanese.  Sōshi-kaimei pressured Koreans to change their last names to a Japanese one.  Nearly 84% of Korean families chose to do so in order to escape Japanese discrimination.  The Japanese tried to assimilate Korea even through religion.  In 1925, they forced Korean students to worship at Shinto Shrines.  The National Mobilization Law of 1938 forced Christians to bow down to idols through military threat.  This forced worship destroyed the Korean’s religion and culture.  By worshipping other gods, the Christian God’s laws were disobeyed.  But they could do nothing, they were physically forced to worship.  Those who did not were sent to prison.  The Japanese people thought of this as uniting the Korean and Japanese together as part of their “Korea and the Homeland, Together, as One” campaign.  Buildings were demolished and built in Shinto-style to further weaken Christianity’s image.  Perhaps the most devastating social effect the occupation had on the Korean people were the use of sex slaves. 

Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, editors. South Korea: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1990.



Soft Power in Japan and South Korea

The term ‘soft power’ is often used in the discussion of popular culture. This essay will utilise knowledge obtained through scholarly enquiry and education in Asian studies to discuss popular culture as a form of soft power. Firstly, I will provide a summative outline on the theory of soft power. Following this I will discuss Japanese and South Korean popular culture and whether they are consistent with the theory of soft power. The thesis of this essay will argue that soft power is a useful term in relation to the discussion of popular culture.

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Joseph Nye, who focuses on international relations, developed the theory of soft power in 1990. Nye suggested that power is ‘influencing others to achieve a desired outcome’. Similarly, the term ‘soft’ power may be understood through a state’s ability to achieve the outcomes it desires by leading as an example for other states[1]. This conveys that soft power is the ability of a nation to attract others to mirror interests consistent with their own. The desired outcomes of soft power vary, however most nations have broad aims for international stability and consistency, which may prevent or address global and national issues. For example, the United States has used mediums of soft power to justify actions towards ‘weapons of mass destruction’ by presenting American culture as attractive through its liberalism, democracy and human rights. This conveys that soft power is an intangible resource which uses ideologies, culture and economics to address international issues[2]. Soft power has been used in contemporary international relations due to the interdependent nature of nations, making direct force costly. For example, a nation’s militarization incurs political and economic costs, which in return could reduce rather than increase a nation’s power. Rather, soft power is used in other resources such as transnational corporations, which allow more leverage of the global system as a whole. Contemporarily, these resources generate more power for nations because of a shift in power structures. Modernization, urbanization and increased communication have diffused power from the government to private sectors. The spread of power into the private sphere, in regards to transnational corporations, means that the most powerful form of soft power is popular culture. Ideologies of nations can be imbedded into products and communication. These commodities are introduced to other nations through transnational corporations and private sectors, who market their products to be attractive, consumerable and resultantly, popular.
Since the mid twentieth century, Japan has been increasingly integral to global popular culture. Central to Japanese exports are manga and anime, the most distinguished forms of Japanese popular culture; hence their potential as forms of soft power.
Japan’s ‘International Exchange Research Programme’ of 2003, reported the potential for Japanese popular culture’s assistance in international diplomacy[3]. It was theorised that positive national images should be embedded into popular culture; mainly through the pre-existing subculture of manga and anime. The report’s recommendation was facilitated, and organisations such as the ‘Japan Cartoonist Association’ were created to reward artistic innovation. In conjunction with Japan’s conveyance of its national image, McGray suggests that Japanese popular culture is seemingly egalitarian; devoid of perspective and hierarchy[4]. This suggests that popular culture has effectively used ideologies, in accordance with culture and economics, to embed a positive national image. Therefore, popular culture that embeds national ideologies is a form of soft power.
The Japan Cartoonist Association generates most of its interest and revenue from foreign states, which suggests that manga and anime are attractive to other nations. Hills argues that its appeal comes from the characters within manga and anime narratives, who are internal and selfless[5]. For example, Spike, the hero from ‘Cowboy Bebop’ was not a saint; a paradigm of the right morals, or always successful in his ventures. This conveys an opposition to Western ideologies of individualistic heroes, who fight on the right side of justice and always succeed. In accordance, its attraction may be sourced from manga and anime’s postmodernism; which allows an escape from modern Western culture. Therefore, popular culture that attracts others, generating international interest and revenue is a form of soft power.
Market forces and consumer preferences drive the production and global consumption of manga and anime[6]. For example, the production company, Studio Ghibli has been increasingly popular in the market due to the international consumer desire for Japanese anime. Otmazgin argues that consumer desire is notably expressed in increasing trade, production and interdependence, with the importance of intra-East Asian trade tripling over the last forty years[7]. In accordance, corporations and organisations have had increasing influence and power in transnational relations, such as shaping economic relations and improving perspectives of Japanese culture. In accordance, corporations and organisations have had increasing influence and power in transnational relations, such as shaping economic relations and improving perspectives of Japanese culture. Therefore, popular culture that empowers corporations and private sectors’ leverage over global systems is a form of soft power
Post-war perceptions, such as the Japanese being aggressive or imperialistic, and policies have prevented some of the Japanese state’s diplomatic aims. Mainly, Japan wishes to attain permanent membership on the UN Security Council[8]. In conjunction, the Japanese state has realised the potential of popular culture in facilitating the state’s desired outcome. Popular culture has generated economic prosperity, as well as conveying ideologies of a positive, progressive Japan. These resources may be considered effective in disassembling post-war perceptions and regulations. Equally, popular culture’s economic success has allowed Japan to become the second largest contributor to the UN’s budget, giving leverage over their diplomatic aim. Therefore, as Nye outlines, popular culture that influences a state’s desired outcome is a form of soft power.
In the late 1990’s, South Korea was propelled into global popular culture. So profound was the movement, it has been described as the Korean Wave; with popular exports such as Korean films and music. Korean popular culture may be termed as a form of soft power.
The Kim Dae Jung administration, in 1998, designated the media and entertainment sectors as a focus for development. In accordance to these political agendas, entertainment based private sectors increased their national significance. For example, the film industry doubled its Korean market share within the year. Central to the recognition of these industries is that they contain cultural content, which can enhance images of Korea. Joo argues that Korea attempts to embed into its cultural exports the idea that Korea is refined, sophisticated and prominent[9]. This suggests that Korean popular culture uses ideologies, in accordance with culture and economics, to embed a positive national image. Therefore, popular culture that embeds national ideologies is a form of soft power.
Korean industries are increasingly obtaining status, interest and revenue from foreign states. Taiwanese television currently pays almost double to broadcast a Korean drama over a Japanese production. This suggests that Korean popular culture is attractive, which may be due to its balance of traditional and modern cultural values. For example, the Korean drama, ‘Winter Sonata’, encapsulates social conservatism, employing traditional morals of being sensitive, gentle and caring, yet presented in a modern environment. In accordance, South Korea provides a model for other conservative Asian states; how to modernize and keep traditional values. Therefore, popular culture that attracts and leads as an example for others is a form of soft power.
With the adoption of Neo-Liberal approaches in South Korea, power was diffused from the government to private sectors[10]. Neo-Liberal strategies invoked privatisation and deregulation, which in return allow capitalists to govern systems of production, advertisement and consumption. For example, Korean music is governed by private sectors to be resonant with the Asian youth, which would have previously been stymied by the Korean nationalist government. This conveys that private sectors have more determination in generating what popular culture constitutes, and in conjunction perspectives of Korean Culture. Therefore, popular culture that empowers corporations and private sectors’ leverage over global systems is a form of soft power.
Post-Cold War perceptions of South Korea may be summarised as contemptuous, inferior and economically weak; which were supplemented by the Korean financial crisis in the 1990s. Though, the Kim Dae Jung administration realised the potential of popular culture in granting diplomatic power; by conveying ideologies of an influential and prominent nation. By creating cultural markets and consumer demand, the state has effectively facilitated their desired outcomes. South Korea now ranks in the top 15 market economies, and feelings of affinity towards South Korea have increased unanimously, and by almost double in Japan during the Korean Wave[11]. Effectively, The South Korea state now constitutes a substantial amount of power, conveying the success of soft power in achieving their diplomatic aims. Therefore, popular culture that influences a states desired outcome is a form of soft power.
Japan and South Korea have both provided examples of soft power that is derived from popular culture. In Japan, popular culture was able to generate power and influence in their diplomatic aims; conveying a positive image of Japan and gaining leverage over permanent membership on the UN Security Council. Similarly in South Korea, popular culture was able to convey a refined, sophisticated and prominent nation in conjunction with facilitating their prominence on the global market. Therefore, soft power is a useful term in relation to the discussion of popular culture.
Er Lam, Peng, “Japan’s quest for soft power: attraction and limitation.” East Asia 24, no. 4 (2007): 349-363.
Hills, Mat, “Transcultural Otaku: Japanese representations of fandom and representations of Japan in anime/manga fan cultures.” Media in Transition 2, (2002): 1-13.
Joo, Jeongsuk, “Transnationalization of Korean Popular Culture and the Rise of Pop Nationalism in Korea.” The Journal of Popular Culture 44, no. 3 (2011): 489-504.
Joseph Nye Explains the Term Soft Power, Educational Film, directed by Allen Greg (Canada: Conversation, 2004).
Kaori, Hayashi, and Eun-Jeung Lee, “The Potential of Fandom and the Limits of Soft Power.” Social Science Japan Journal 10, no. 2 (2007): 197-216.
McGray, Douglas, “Japan’s Gross National Cool.” Foreign Policy 130, no. 1 (2002): 44-54.
Nakarmura, Toshiya, “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: How Cool Japan Will Be.” International Studies Association, (2011): 1-26.
Nye, Joseph, “Soft Power.” Foreign policy, (1990).
Otmazgin, Nissim, “Contesting Soft Power.” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 8, no. 1 (2008): 73-101.
Yang, Jonghoe, “The Korean Wave in East Asia.” Development and Society 41, no. 1 (2012): 103-147.

[1] Allen Greg, “Joseph Nye Explains the Term Soft Power,” Educational Film, (Canada: Conversation, 2004).
[2] Joseph Nye, “Soft Power.” Foreign policy, (1990): 161.
[3] Nissim Otmazgin, “Contesting Soft Power.” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 8, no. 1 (2008): 81-82.
[4] Douglas McGray, “Japan’s Gross National Cool.” Foreign Policy 130, no. 1 (2002): 47.
[5] Mat Hills, “Transcultural Otaku: Japanese representations of fandom and representations of Japan in anime/manga fan cultures.” Media in Transition 2, (2002): 10.
[6] Peng Er Lam, “Japan’s quest for soft power: attraction and limitation.” East Asia 24, no. 4 (2007): 350.
[7] Nissim Otmazgin, “Contesting Soft Power.” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 8, no. 1 (2008): 85.
[8] Toshiya Nakarmura, “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: How Cool Japan Will Be.” International Studies Association, (2011): 14-15.
[9] Jeongsuk Joo, “Transnationalization of Korean Popular Culture and the Rise of Pop Nationalism in Korea.” The Journal of Popular Culture 44, no. 3 (2011): 496.
[10] Jonghoe Yang, “The Korean Wave in East Asia.” Development and Society 41, no. 1 (2012): 107.
[11] Hayashi Kaori and Eun-Jeung Lee, “The Potential of Fandom and the Limits of Soft Power.” Social Science Japan Journal 10, no. 2 (2007): 213.

Comparison of George Orwell’s Oceana with North Korea

North Korea

 What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear about North Korea? Most people know North Korea as one of the most strictly controlled societies in the world. North Korea’s government restricts all civil and political liberties for its citizens, including their freedom of expression, assembly, association, religion, and many more. In order to maintain fear and control over their people, they consistently uses arbitrary arrest and punishment of crimes, torture in custody, forced labors, and executions. It is clear to see that their society functions as a totalitarian state. The oppression of the citizen of Oceania, within the dystopia novel by George Orwell, 1984, can be reflected in the behaviour of the North Korean government in 2018. A dystopia is an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic. In North Korea, they are known to be an isolated state, it has been ruled by the Kim family dynasty over three generation since 1948. The Workers’ Party of Korea is a political party that is also led by a member of the Kim II-Sung’s family. North Korea is a one-state party that is guided by the ideology of Juche. Juche ideology is used to encourage North Koreans to work as masters of revolution and construction. The Workers’ Party of Korea essentially controls North Korean politics. The Workers’ Party of Korea inherited the revolutionary traditions that have been used in the period of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle. North Korea’s prompt objective is to maintain complete victory of socialism in the northern half of Korea and to model the whole society on the Jude idea and build a communist society. James Pearson stated in one of his articles on North Korea, “By giving citizens new networked technologies like mobile phones and tablets, the government is able to automatically censor unsanctioned content and observe everything citizens are doing on their devices remotely” (Pearson par. 3). This specific strategy have caused North Korea’s citizens to secretly use cheap mobile phones on Chinese networks to just bypass state control and access outside information or speak with foreign contacts. If the citizens are caught communicating with the outside world, they are immediately sent to prison camps. Just like 1984, the Party embedded cameras within citizens’ telescreens, had network or spies and informers who rat out dissidents, making the citizens not feel safe and unobserved. North Korea similarly practices the same strategy. A Committee for Human Rights Watch in North Korea claims that North Korea controls a “massive, multilevel system of informants”, which will rewards informers and monitor internet and telephone usage. North Korea’s monitoring even goes beyond wired microphones and wiretapping of phones, because now even face-to-face conversation could potentially be caught on a microphone. In the article titled, “North Korea’s human rights: What’s not being talked about” by Trump-Kim summit states, “The economy is also strictly controlled and the government funnels money into its nuclear and missile programme despite the worldwide shortage of food, fuel, and other basic necessities” (Trump-Kim summit par. 6). Due to that issue, an estimate of almost a third of pregnant women and 200,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Since the citizens are not receiving clean water or health and sanitation in North Korea, many children are at risk of dying from curable diseases.

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 North Korea’s media is tightly controlled in the world. The media is a large portion of their resource towards the political propaganda, promoting Kim Jong-un, and even promoting hate towards the U.S. The state gives out all the news, entertainment and information in which only praises North Korea’s leadership. They refuse to give the citizens any media access from the outside world. Before President Donald Trump decided to finally meet Kim Jong-un to make amends, Kim Jong-un had a strong hate towards the United States and wanted to make sure the rest of North Korea did as well. Amanda Harding states in one of her articles based on North Korea propaganda towards children, “One poster has a photo of an American with a  noose around his neck and says, ‘Let’s wipe out the U.S. imperialists.’ Another features a bloodied U.S. soldier being attacked by children wielding bayonets and rifles” (Harding par. 8). Instead of having inspirational posters for young children, he only wanted them to see violent ones. Due to their young age, it is very back-breaking to visualize how harmful this can be to these young children since America is so different from North Korea. In 1984 by George Orwell, Orwell gives the reader an indication of this when he says, “A new poster gas suddenly appeared all over London. It had no caption, and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier, three or four meters high, striding forward with expressionless Mongolian face and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from his hip.” (149). This is significant, because even though it is not as violent as the way North Korean tried to portrays the United States, they are brainwashing their citizens to demonize the United States. Also, since North Korean citizens don’t have the right to do their own research based on the United States, they believe the lies that are given to them by the media outlets. In 1984, they also praise Big Brother, the same way Kung Jong un is praised all over the media outlets. Orwell gives the reader an indication of this when he says, “Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black mustachioed face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the sing word INGSOC” (2).  This is significant because the totalitarian power seeks utilize influence over its society by conveying the message that it is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.  

 Many women in North Korea suffer daily from abuse and injustice. Discrimination against women very much exists and it seems the situation will not improve any sooner.  Even though, North Korea tries to present itself as nominally an equal society, women are said to be deprived of education and many job opportunities. In an article titled, “Rape and no periods in North Korea’s army” by Megha Mohan, she discusses about a North Korean former soldier Lee So Yeon who had to deal with stopping her menstruation and the horrible experience of rape that happened to her former comrades. Yeon revealed in a interview with BBC that she was not raped during her time in the army between 1992 and 2001, but many of her comrades were during the time (Mohan par. 33).  Yeon stated in the interview, “The company commander would stay in his room at the unit after hours and rape the female soldiers under his command. This would happen over and over without an end” (Mohan par. 33). It is obvious that sexual violence is a common problem within the army. Due to shortage of food,many women volunteer because of the thought of a guaranteed meal each day. Since North Korea is a traditional male-dominated society, many of the senior male officials constantly manipulate and hound young women, threatening to ruin their chances to join the Worker’s Party of Korea if they refused or attempt to report the abuse. Therefore, most of the women suffer in silence. Human Rights Watch announced that North Korean officials committing sexual violence against women is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life. In the article titled, “Sexual violence ‘common’ in North Korea: HRW” by Xi Lucy Shi stated, “The report notes that a wide range of public officials are alleged to regularly harass and assault vulnerable women. These officials include high-level party officials, police officers, prosecutors, soldier (particularly at border crossings), and corrections officers within prisons and detention centers.” In a result, many women expressed a sense that the abuse they endured was so normalised almost no on thought to file a complaint against the perpetrators.

 North Korea’s prison camps have been said to be the world’s biggest open prison camps. Anyone can be jailed for anything and people who are often convicted of political crime are often sent to brutal labour camps, who can involve physical work such as mining and logging. In a article titled, “North Korea’s Prisoners: How harsh are conditions” by Stephen Evan discusses about an American citizen named Kenneth Bae who had visited the country many times, was stopped due to Christian materials discovered in his vehicle. Due to the crime that was committed, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour and was only released when his health deteriorated seriously. He admit that his weight dropped, and his health increasingly failed due to the hard labour from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM. Kenneth also faced psychological torment of not knowing when he would see home again. He states, “There was one prosecutor assigned to my case for the last year of my imprisonment. He came to me almost every week, and he said to me, ‘No one remembers you. You have been forgotten by your people, your government. You’re not going home any time soon. You’ll be here for 15 years. You’ll be 60 before you go home.” But he never lost lost faith on his country that would try to bring him home, even though he felt like he was living one day at a time. In 1984, O’Brien also used psychological torture towards Winston in order to break him down during interrogation. Orwell gives the reader an indication of this when he says, “What happens to you here is forever. Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you could not recover, if you lived a thousand years. Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you” (256). This is significant because the authority within the position of power is prone to abuse the vulnerability of their objects, as seen with O’brien’s psychological abuse towards Winston in 1984 and the abuses in multiple forms engineered by the state of North Korea. Amnesty International described the prison camps as “harsh beyond endurance” and Kenneth Bae completely agrees. Kenneth Bae gives the audience indication of this when he says, “in the field, doing farming, labour, carrying rocks and shovelling coal. All those things were physically very demanding and were very difficult.” Similarly, like the people in 1984 novel, people who went against the law were severely punishment, even if the crime was minor. Orwell gives the reader in indication of this when he says, “People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word” (19). Citizens who committed a crime in 1984 disappeared without a trace and no one questions it, this is how the Party punishes those who oppose their views, presents a challenge to their authority, or threaten the stability of their society. 

 In the final analysis, the dystopian society in the novel 1984 by George Orwell does not differ from North Korea society today. Both societies use media to deceive their citizens by giving them false news, promoting their leaders and hate towards their political enemies. This cycle will continue and in order for North Korea to avoid the same ending as in the novel 1984, North Korea needs to improve their economy, living standards, and release more freedom to their citizens.

Work Cited

Choi, Shine (Shinhyung). “Love’s Cruel Promises.” International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 17, no. 1, 2013, pp. 119–136. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.790656.

Shinhyung, on the first page of her paper, establishes several facts about North Korea’s human rights violations in order to further accent her point of challenging the preconceived and commonly held international views on North Korea solutions and reunification. SHe proceeds to claim that love and a comprehensive, politically artistic showing of addressing, understanding and addressing the differences and issues which have long divided the DPRK and the international community.

Harding began by describing some of the propaganda used in North Korea to inundate their children to it’s Anti-American and Anti-Japanese beliefs, such as an American War Atrocity Museum, billboards and posters encouraging violence towards the imperialists, and a campaign of misinformation and historical edits. North Korean media is state run, Harding affirms, showing just how easy it is for the government to play the Kims in a favorable light while suppressing dissenting ideas.

Husenicova, Lucia. “North Korean Strategic Culture: Survival and Security.” Scientific Bulletin, vol. 23, no. 1, 2018, pp. 26–35. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2478/bsaft-2018-0004.

Husenicova, on the US-DPRK relations, likened the current showdown between DOnald Trump and Kim JOng UN to the Cold War. Citing the many similarities between the two, such as nuclear armament issues, boisterous posturing on either side, all leading to a threat of nuclear war. Following this, Husenicova begins to look closer at the historic and cultural factors which has led to the ascendency of the Kim Regime.

Kritsiotis, Dino. “North Korea And Starvation: An Ongoing Crime Against Humanity.” Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law, vol. 15, no. 1-2, 2014, pp. 13–30. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1163/15718158-15010202.

On the first page of this report, Kritsiotis describes a call to question the international communities’ accountability in the failure in preventing and intervening in the crimes against humanity which North Korea had been perpetrating for decades. The author continues to recount the instances leading to the current regime system, such as historical Confucian teachings, Japanese colonial rule, and the several wars in the mid 20th century have all led to and facilitated the unchecked violation of human rights in the DPRK

Lim explains that, behind the guise of international politics, North Korean women experience a deep-seated structure of gender inequality, sexual assault and exploitation while being mired in systemic poverty. These systems seem to be worsening, according to Lim, as feeding starving families is largely left to women outside the formal workforce, who are subjected to less government oversight, while reports of domestic violence only continue to rise.

Distress Migration: Escaping from North Korea

Distress Migration


 North Korea is unlike anything we can imagine. There is little food and the people are brainwashed into worshipping the leader. The truth about North Korea was a secret for many years, until refugees began sharing their stories. These refugees are using their experiences living in North Korea to make people more aware of the atrocities happening in North Korea. Their experiences are different, yet they are all similar. From their stories we learn about the living conditions in North Korea and finally get inside tales of what the North Korean labor camps look like. They describe the excruciating work and the frequent beatings from guards. Each of their stories has brought awareness about the North Korean way of life. These stories make it possible for people to study the migration patterns of these refugees and give more insight as to how we can help both the refugees and the citizens still suffering within North Korea’s borders.

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 Books, blogs, documentaries, articles, etc. have been written about North Korean refugees. Their stories frequently make the news and fill up headlines on newspapers. But aside from public media, their stories have inspired many different kinds of research. From political research to psychological research, there’s certainly no shortage of discourse surrounding these refugees. One of the most obscure studies being done being migration studies. There are several theories out there about why or how North Korean refugees migrate, but in this essay, there is only one important theory, and that is distress migration. For this essay I will be explaining how distress migration is a specific form of forced migration because the amount of turmoil a country is in would give people no other option but to flee.

 I will begin this essay by introducing the literary pieces I have chosen to define my theoretical lens of the paper. This section of the essay will include the introduction of two main points of the theory along with articles and books to support my reasoning for relating these specific articles to the theory that distress migration is a form of forced migration. After introducing the theoretical lens, I will describe the archive of narratives I will be using. I will expose several patterns in the narrative stories and put them into context with a summary of one of the narratives. Once I have completed the first two sections, I will move on to synthesizing the two sections together to create a conclusive argument to support the original theory. And then finally, I will conclude the essay with a short summary of the information covered.


 This study of North Korean refugees is very specific, in that the lens I used to look at this phenomenon is very directed and does not have another side to the argument, because in the case of North Koreans there is only one reason to migrate. This section includes studies surrounding the costs and benefits of migrating and the awful circumstances that would force people to consider migration. In other words, this section will lend a hand into understanding the theory of distress migration. These studies will also help in shaping the lens I used to investigate the minds of North Korean refugees and highlight my reasoning for not looking into the other forms of migration related to forced migration. First, I will consider rhetorical discourses pertaining to the idea of distress migration and forced migration, this will be focused on migration discourse material. Secondly, I will be looking at discourse of countries who are experiences exodus due to extreme circumstances. This will include environmental circumstances, migration statistics, and statements from political officials. By viewing these studies under one lens, I can see how different facets of life can ultimately force a person to migrate.

Gamble Wisely

 Much of migration discourse surrounding forced migration pertains to a political push for people to migrate, but for this study it is important to look at forced migration as an equivalent to distress migration- the circumstances pushed the people to flee in order to find a better life. In the book A Short History of Migration, Livi Bacci writes about many different types of migration including the idea of forced migration. In this section of the book, Livi Bacci discusses not only how migrants must consider the labor market in outside countries, but also how receiving countries should be considering how an immigrant can benefit the country. With countries continuously reconsidering the value of immigration it is a gamble for migrants to leave their homes in hopes of changing their life. From this, we can see how difficult migration is and understand that each refugee is making a huge leap of faith while trying to flee the country.

 Along with the formal study of migration done by Livi Bacci, there are other smaller studies dedicated to uncovering underlying reasons for distress migration or forced migration. In an article called “Pressure Points: Environmental Degradation, Migration, and Conflict”, the author writes about how migration is affected by environmental problems. The article goes on to explain how environmental degradation in developing countries can be detrimental to development and can cause a mass migration of people. Following this, the author also speaks about the challenges of migrating for people living in poverty and how this may affect the outflow of migrants. Keeping in mind this information, we can see that cost and benefit planning is a key concept when talking about distressed migration. Weighing these cost and benefits in the end can force someone to leave their home because they realize there is nothing good left for them there.

Distress Migration

  Looking into rhetoric discourse about distress migration is one way of learning about this phenomenon but analyzing related testimonies can also give rise to understanding the theory surrounding distress migration. One such study done by Courtland Robinson explores the political and environmental situation in North Korea in relation with the number of North Korean migrants in the surrounding countries. In this study, Courtland Robinson speaks about many of the problems in North Korea throughout the years and uses them to describe the quality of life North Koreans have. Through this we can deduce specific reasoning for migration. From here we can also understand why they gamble mentioned by Livi Bacci is an absolute necessity for these migrants.

 Looking away from North Korea for a minute, there are other countries that are also going through, or have gone through, periods of exodus caused by distress migration. For example, during the drought in India many people lived facing food insecurity and loss of their livelihood. Because of this many people fled to the cities or other countries to escape not only the drought, but the financial instability that the drought caused. (Mishra, Archana) India’s own exodus may be due to drought, but it shows how desperate people become before they migrate. For the farmers in India during the drought, they lost everything before giving in and moving away. Thus, this testimony certainly supports the idea that distress migration is seen as a last resort for people trying to escape unideal circumstances.

 With all different countries having problems with migration and distress migration, it has certainly garnered attention from around the world as well. Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, spoke at the UN in 2016 to address the problem of distress migration and how important it is to focus on the root of the problem. Graziano da Silva elaborates throughout his speech about how developing rural areas have had increased migration levels. He goes on to say, “Migration should be an act of choice, and not a desperate last resort,”. This powerful sentence explains what distress migration really looks like. It is not about a person’s choice to leave their homeland because they did not like the conditions there, but rather it’s about how the conditions in one area can be so bad it can push out all the people living there. This is the lens that I will be using to analyze the narratives of North Korean Refugees.

 Although these literature pieces have little in common in terms of main ideas, they are all part of the theory of forced migration and they all elaborate on the idea behind distress migration. Livi Bacci wrote his book solely to focus on migration and migration theory, so his book alone could not create an acceptable lens for the North Korean refugee crisis, but when you take Livi Bacci’s initial theory of forced migration and throw it into a mixing bowl with the other articles I will be using in this essay, it creates a suitable theoretical lens. And so, with this newly created lens, I will be highlighting how North Korean refugees are forced to migrate out of North Korea not because of a political push to migrate, but rather due to unlivable conditions. 

The Narratives of North Korean Refugees

 The literary pieces mentioned in the last section were used to create the theory that I will be using to analyze the following North Korean refugee narratives that I have chosen to create my archive. In this narrative section I will be looking at written and spoken accounts from people that escaped North Korea through crossing the border into China. After introducing my archive, I will highlight the patterns that I noticed within the narratives. Following this I will choose one narrative to put into the spotlight and talk about their story.

 North Korea is a place that is unimaginable to most people. The quality of life is poor for most people, and all people fear the regime; breaking the law is not an option. The people stay quiet for fear of being sent to a labor camp and taking three generations of their family with them. The archive I will be using includes the narratives of people from all walks of life within North Korea, but there are two key points that relate all the narratives together. The first, is that all the refugees escaped into China rather than attempting to go directly to South Korea. The second is all the refugees had done time at a labor camp. Since North Korea is one of the last countries that still condones the use of labor camps, I wanted to include the narratives of people that had experiences wtih those conditions so to inform others about the atrocities labor camp workers have to live through.

Patterns in Narrative

 While reading and listening to narratives of North Korean refugees I noticed several patterns. The first was how much the narrators talked about food. Their diets were made up of corn, and whatever they could catch out in the fields while working. There was little food and all they could dream of was being able to eat as much as they wanted and eating whatever they wanted. One refugee, Charles, told of how he once ate vomit of the side of the road because he was hungry, and he could see the rice kernels in it. At that time the guards beat him while he ate, but food was more important to him than the pain of the beatings (Charles). This need for food was stated as one of the reasons that each refugee chose to leave.

 Another pattern I noticed within the archive is the theme of bodily pain. Within the labor camps people are worked all day with no breaks doing extraneous work such as mining, lumbering, or hauling large loads. Working like this causes so much physical pain to the body and could easily kill a person with that pain alone, but work isn’t the only pain afflicted on the bodies of these North Korean laborers. The guards are known for beating people daily. Whether it be because they slacked off or simply because the guard was in a bad mood. Every narrator relayed their experiences being beaten by the guards and how sore their body felt every day. On one extreme occasion, a laborer shared a memory of a time while he was in school- the younger kids in labor camps received education until the age of 12- and the guard hit a girl so hard on the head she died the next day (Shin, Donghyuk). This story reflects the most extreme examples of the pain that laborers experienced while living in the labor camps. But even after they leave the country, the pain does not end until they find safety. Hours and days of travel through rough terrain trying to hide from the Chinese guards would certainly take a toll on the human body.

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 The final pattern I noticed while looking through the archive is the danger each narrator fights through within North Korea and after they have gotten into China. Once a person has been deemed missing within North Korea, they must stay hidden from the police until they have crossed the border. Once inside of China’s borders they must steer clear of the Chinese guards. In China, North Koreans are not seen as refugees and if found they will be sent back to North Korea, if returned they could be sent to death camps, labor camps, or publicly executed depending on the person. From the moment a person leaves their normal life in North Korea they are in danger. Apart from having to hide to avoid guards, North Koreans also put themselves in danger because many of them have no food and no money. They are roaming around China trying to find a safe place to declare refugee status with no food, and so each refugee could die on the road to freedom, but this is all a gamble each person must take in order to leave the horrible life they had in North Korea.

The Story of Kang Chol-hwan

  Kang Chol-hwan grew up in an affluential family in the capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang. His grandfather worked in the government building in Pyongyang and Chol-hwan spent most of his childhood not ever knowing of hunger or poverty. North Korea was still running smoothly and had enough rations for all its people, in the city at least. Chol-hwan was a happy kid, until the day the guards came to his house. His grandfather had disgraced the regime. When you disgrace the regime up to three generations of a family can be sent to labor camps and held there until they die or are deemed eligible to re-enter society. Chol-hwan spent many years of his life slaving away in the labor camp, getting beat, and was also close to starving to death. Eventually he was released and found himself living the life of a farmer. Soon after this he decided to leave North Korea. He run to China and after many months avoiding the Chinese government he made it to South Korea and found his freedom (Chol-hwan, Kang). From this summary of the book The Aquariums of Pyongyang all the patterns mentioned above are put into context and the life of a North Korean refugee becomes even more clear.

Viewing the Archive Through the Theoretical Lens

 Now that I have established the theoretical lens and the archive that this essay will focus on, I will focus on how the narrative supports the main ideas of the theory. During this section of the essay I will be taking the patterns mentioned in the narrative section and the two main concepts of the theory and synthesizing them to accurately explain how the narrative and theory work together. The two main points from the theory that I will be looking at are the idea that distress migration is a form of forced migration and how leaving from North Korea is a life gamble that each refugee must make.

Analyzing Patterns

 The moment a North Korean goes missing their life becomes a battle. Simply making it to the border could be the most dangerous part of the whole journey. The defector will have to dodge the North Korean police for days or even months to reach the river that creates the border between China and North Korea. If the defector is found they can be sent to a labor camp or in extreme cases, publicly executed. Because of the consequences, once a North Korean decides to leave, they understand that there is no turning back; turning around means death. These extreme consequences do not force people to migrate per se, but rather it forces people to stay away once they have left. So, for those who change their minds, they have no choice but to continue migrating thus taking away a person’s ability to change their mind and forcing them to go on.

 For the narrators of the archive, the dangers of escaping mean nothing to them when they think of all the pain and suffering they already go through. In his book, Kang Chol-hwan vividly describes the pain his body went through just doing work every day. His back would ache after just a few hours of carrying timber down the mountain. The soreness caused by intensive labor alone would be enough to send people running but adding regular beatings into the mix would drive anyone away. All the narrators told stories of being beaten around by the guards, and many of them gave this as another main reasoning for wanting to escape. Being tortured day in and day out with labor and angry guards with sticks was difficult to deal with, and the bodily pain eventually drove the distressed North Korean laborers out of the country, forcing them to leave their homeland, family, and friends behind.

 According to the article “Pressure Points: Environmental Degradation, Migration and Conflict”, environmental degradation plays a huge part in causing distress migration because of the food shortages and mass poverty that it creates. The phenomenon that the article explains reflects the pattern that I saw within the narratives of North Korean refugees. The narrators in the archive all speak about the disparity for food they lived through and witnessed everyday of their life, this was always mentioned as a main cause of deciding to leave the country. Both discourses highlight how the quality of life impacts a person’s choice to migrate and thus supports the idea that distress migrants are pushed or forced out of the country.

 While discussing food disparity that North Koreans face it is important to mention that after leaving North Korea, most refugees still experience food disparity. One narrator, Charles, recollects how he was found passed out in China due to hunger and dehydration, close to death (Charles). Many refugees face starvation while trying to get out of China, and many may die from it. Starvation is an outcome all North Korean refugees must consider before the decide to leave. Livi Bacci talks extensively of the costs and benefits migrants must think about, most of the costs on either side leading to death. With this idea in mind it is easy to see why migration is considered a gamble with your own life, especially for those already living in poverty.

 Starvation is probably the most likely cause of death for these migrants, but the strain they put on their body while fleeing can also cause death. Before leaving most refugees don’t know how long they will have to travel to find their way to a country that will receive them as refugees. Some may spend weeks wandering around, and others may take months. Living in the woods and always on the run, your body will become tired and weak. Bodily pain is no stranger to the refugee. Everyday becomes a gamble with your life.

 From all this information it is easy to see just how dangerous migration can be for North Korean refugees. As Courtland Robinson showcased in his study of North Korean life, the people constantly are in danger of offending the regime and being sent away or executed. The life they live in North Korea is difficult, but outside the country they face many more dangers on their path to freedom. Starvation and fatigue plague their bodies every day, all they can do is hope to save themselves. By escaping each refugee understands that they may die. Therefore, distress migration from North Korea is a gamble. People bet their lives so that they can have freedom.


 This study is an in depth look at why North Korean refugees inevitable run. Using the stories of North Koreans that lived through labor camps and escaping into China we can begin to understand the many perils they each go through before and after their escape. Their lives in North Korea are haunted by hunger, fear, and pain, causing them to live in a constant state of distress and eventually forcing them to move out of the country to find freedom and a better life. Their lives outside in China after escaping isn’t much different than before; they are still hungry, tired, and living in fear. Not knowing if they will ever make it to a country of freedom, they push on and tempt death as their body nears its limit. Despite the danger they still run because there is nothing left for them in North Korea, it’s already taken everything away from them.

 For people with no food and no rights, leaving becomes their only option for a good life. No matter how much they love their home, the idea of plentiful food and freedom will always draw them out. That’s exactly what happened to the North Koreans talked about in this essay. The harsh conditions they were living in, again explained by Courtland Robinson in the article “The Curious Case of North Korea”, were enough to drive many North Koreans to the edge, the border between North Korea and China that is. Just like in India during the flood, the North Koreans left the country not solely by their own choice, but because the circumstances did not allow them to stay. This is why distress migration should be considered a type of forced migration.

 The lives of North Koreans are unimaginable to most, but with this essay I hope that an idea of what it’s like not only living in North Korea, but also escaping North Korea must be like. Everyday people die of hunger or are beaten to death in the labor camps, but still there is nothing being done on their behalf. For years refugees have shared their stories and raised awareness for their cause, but attacking North Korea is not a possibility. So then why raise awareness to make feel helpless? Because there is one problem that can still be solved. In all the narratives in the essay the dangers of China were explained vividly. The Chinese government still holds a treaty with North Korea promising to return any defectors they find, this leads to the death and torture of so many North Koreans. The Chinese government needs to remove their treaty so that more lives can be saved. Sharing the narratives of these refugees is the best hope these people have at gaining enough attention to force China to help them. Please help the suffering people of North Korea by saving them from the cruel Chinese government.

Works Cited

Chang, Yoonok, et al. “Migration Experiences of North Korean Refugees: Survey Evidence from China.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2008, doi:10.2139/ssrn.1106323.

Charles. “I Survived North Korea.” YouTube, SoulPancake, 17 May 2018,

Mishra, Archana. “Distress Migration: A Calamity Worse Than Drought.” Factiva, GovernanceNow, 2016,!?&_suid=1545103848998007924575547095558.

Robinson, Courtland. “The Curious Case of North Korea.” Colombia: Durable Solutions for the Forcibly Displaced | Forced Migration Review, Forced Migration Review, May 2013,

“Roundup: FAO chief underlines need to address root cause of ‘distress migration’.” Xinhua News Agency, 19 Sept. 2016. Student Edition, Accessed 21 Dec. 2018.

Shin, Donghyuk. “North Korea Camps.” Danmark Radio, 23 Aug. 2016, Accessed 20 Dec. 2018.

Suhrke, Astri. “Environmental Degradation, Migration, and the Potential for Violent Conflict.” Conflict and the Environment, 1997, pp. 255–272., doi:10.1007/978-94-015-8947-5_16.

China’s Relationship with North Korea

Table of Contents:

Hypothesis statement
Research Questions
Literature Review
Theoretical framework (Defensive Realism-Kenneth Waltz)
Sino-Korean alliance
Mutual gain between China and North Korea
Beijing’s influence

North Korea is the state that is being considered as the most isolated state in the world. China is the only state that is supporting North Korea since Korean War. At the period of Korean War USSR and China backed North Korea. South Korea and North Korea are on the same peninsula whereas; North Korea shares its borders with China, Russia, Japan and Mongolia but does not have good relations with any state except China. Trade impediments have been put on North Korea but China supported them throughout and acknowledged as the biggest trade partner of North Korea. During the Korean War, Soviet Union provided military assistance to North Korea but circumstances are quite different now. As we are living in unipolar world and US is the super power, China is threat to US because of its emerging economic and military power. US supported South Korea in Korean War and they still have ample relations with each other. The reason of fragmentation of Korea is shift in ideology, North Korea was a Communist state and that is again a threat to US because US didn’t want several states that follow Communism. On the other hand China was and still is a Communist state and a cause of having a soft corner for North Korea. South Korea is the Democratic state and has been backed by US. [1]

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China is aiding Pyongyang in terms of both soft power and hard power but does not want them to have their own military weapon. Proliferation of Nuclear weapon may lead towards unhealthy relations between China and North Korea and off course US silently supporting this particular act of China against North Korea. From 2006-2013 Pyongyang’s tried Nuclear Tests for the three times but it turned relations in tensed situation and settled afterwards when North Korea agreed on denuclearization at Six Table Talks. For now North Korea does not afford disturbed relations with China because it’s the only state that is providing economic and military trade to them. When Korea split North Korea had better economy and GDP than South Korea but now South Korea is more developed and flourished because of Democracy and support of US whereas North Korea being the follower of Communism and have Dictatorship has poor economy plus have non friendly relations with its neighbors. [2]
North Korea’s alliance is important to Beijing as an important tool of balancing power in the region with the US & its allies, especially South Korea & rising Japan.
Research Questions:
The purpose of the study is to find out the answers of these questions:

Why North Korea is important for China in the regional context of Asia Pacific?
Will Sino-Korean alliance be able to balance power with the United States & its allies in the region?
What is the Western Perception of Sino-Korean alliance?

Literature review:
As China and North Korea’s relationship is one of the ongoing debates for the world since Korean War so scholars like to write about it and by giving different analysis on the particular issue makes the topic more interesting. The Congressional Report has been published on December 2010 by Dick. K. Nanto and Mark. E. Manyin. The main crux of the report was that US being the opponent of China still highlighted the mutual interests of China’s foreign policy towards North Korea. The reason behind that is China wants to see North Korea as a stabilized state in terms of strong economy but does not want North Korea to become a Nuclear power and this is the point where US is with China.
The Book “North Korea and North East Asia” edited by Samuel. S Kim and Tai Hwan Lee talks about Beijing’s continuous support to Pyongyang is its own interest because if it will stop the economic assistance to North Korea, then the complete dependence on China would affect the economy of China as well. Weak economy of North Korea means less job opportunities and facilities of life. As North Koreans are not in good terms with their neighbors except China they will start moving towards it, this fear is making China to provide soft power to North Korea so they stay in their own state and not become the refuges of China.
There is a report from Washington named as China’s North Korean Policy by Gates Bill published in 2011 and another report “Balancing Chinese interests on North Korea and Iran” by Lora Saalman (April 21013). In this report author has discussed that US, South Korea and Japan are allies but somehow they are agreeing on China’s foreign policy towards North Korea as it discussed about:

To stable the regime and political system of North Korea
Development of their economy

A book called “China and North Korea” by Andrew Scobell has discussed what terror PRC and DPRK faced after 9/11. In China’s point of view after Iraq it was North Korea’s turn to be attacked by US so in that case it was imperative for both states to come together on one table and maintain their National Security, the article China’s North Korean Pivot published in 2013 by Yoon Young-Kwan added that China’s perception was that Pyongyang’s would agree on the issue of denuclearization when Prime Minister Wen Jibao visited North Korea in October 2009 and made sure the continuity of economic services.
Theory: Defensive Realism-Kenneth Waltz
In this study, I have applied the defensive realism school of thought. Defensive realist basically believes that power is the most important element in the international relations. Also, defensive realists argue that states are genuinely obsessed with security because they feel insecure and thus always seek to maximize its security capabilities. This is how China is developing and maintaining its relations with other states including North Korea in the region. China is insecure and doesn’t trust US and its allies, and with the growing US presence in the Asia Pacific region in return has increased China’s concerns, thus China is seeking to find a way to balance the power by supporting US rival North Korea.
Sino-Korean alliance
As it is observed that China is of the strongest allied state of North-Korea, few things are being come under consideration in last few years. Some tensions have been occurred between China and North Korea relationship due to continuous nuclear development by North Korea, China and US are on the same platform to stop North Korea to become a Nuclear power. It is thought that US partnership towards North East Asia is a gateway to bring stability in Korea peninsula. Since Obama’s pivot to Asia the previous policy (regional partnership) has been confronted, and the changing policy of US is creating suspicion among Chinese Government.
North Korea’s approach is aggressive towards China and US, now North Korea is applying realistic approach as according to North Korea US is the only actor with maximum nuclear power and Pyongyang is trying to balance the power by developing their own Nuclear weapons.
U.S-China policies are divergent in key areas such as anti-terror and anti WMD institutes, democracy and human rights. The U.S alliance system and the U.N system contribute on stable patterns of power balancing in Asia-Pacific. I conclude that Sino-U.S policies on the regional order result in patterns of power balancing not undermined by co-existence and order that may be called “Stable Instability”, because it is likely to remain in place as the regional order of the Asia-Pacific for the foreseeable future.
Western perception of Sino-Korean alliance Since China is the biggest trade partner of North Korea but its policy towards denuclearization of North Korea is very clear and supports US on this particular issue. Though US consider China as a threat but also realize that China is only providing soft power to North Korea and has a very firm stance on the issue of denuclearization of North Korea.
At the start of the Obama’s administration first term in 2009, there were many expectations that the United States must pursue direct talks with North Korea in order to break a two decade long standoff over its nuclear program. President Obama promised in his inaugural address that he would offer an outstretched hand to those who will unclench their fists. Making a public offer to dictatorial states of willingness to abandon adversarial relations.[3]
However North Korea responded to this offer with a multi-stage rocket launch and a nuclear test in April and May 2009.These actions meant that president Obama’s first North Korea related policy decisions would be defined by the need to uphold the international non-proliferation regime against North Korea’s challenge and would involve winning international support for sanctions against North Korea at United Nations security council. The resulting UNSC resolution 1874 condemned North Korea’s nuclear and multi stage rocket tests and subjected suspected North Korea related shipments to international inspections. [4]
By the time Obama’s administration had the political space to pursue direct dialogue with North Korea; it had decided on an approach that secretory of United State Clinton described as strategic pastime in close consultants with our six party allies. The emphasis alliances coordination has been the first principle of any Obama administration discussion policy towards North Korea and it was greatly aided by the fact that Obama and Lee Myung-bak (former ruler of South Asia) administrations largely saw eye to eye on the priority and importance of North Korea’s denuclearization.[5] The policy of “strategic patience”, a policy that suggested that the U.S could offend to wait for North Korea to make its decision to denuclearize, aligned well with political reality in light of North Korea’s alleged sinky of a Korean warship and shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeons Island in March and November 2010. The Obama administration held three rounds of direct talks with North Korean counterparts from July 2011 to February 2012.
The U.S intended these statements to bind North Korea from provocative actions such as nuclear and missile tests and to secure Pyongyang’s commitment to return to the path of denuclearization, but they were upended less than three weeks after they were announced by North Korea’s March 16, 2012 announcement of its failed 12 April 2012 satellite launch. Thus, the Obama’s first term policy toward North Korea involved a mix of elements, including a strong commitment to coordination among some South Korean and Japanese allies, continued adherence to the objective of North Korea’s denuclearization. The Obama administration also involved a “rebalancing” policy towards Asia, popularly known as pivot to Asia. This policy strengthens U.S political, economic and military participation in and commitment to Asia, both through a host of bilateral dialogues with China that cover a wide range of economic and strategic issues and through a variety of hedging measures designed to shape China’s rise, limit the affects of assertive Chinese policies and assure that China’s rise will not result in regional instability. This debate provides a backdrop to consider prospects for Sino-U.S cooperation on policy toward North Korea and highlights Chinese wariness and strategic mistrust of U.S policy intentions.[6]
Mutual Gain
North Korea is economically dependent on China. China is its major food source and the North Korea’s dependency on china is increasing day by day as its export is less than its import. It is not only North Korea that is benefitting from China but it’s a game of mutual gain North Korea is providing buffer zone between China and South Korea. More and more Chinese companies are investing in North Korea and gaining favorable interests.
Importance of North Korea in Asia Pacific (China):
China doesn’t believe in making alliances or allies. China only seeks mutual interests and cooperation amongst states. Also, China perceives a threat from US and its Allies and so in order to balance out, China has been supporting North Korea since the Korean War in early 1950s. Moreover, there has been a mutual gain relation between North Korea and China. North Korea’s economy is entirely dependent on China as China provided it with aid and energy supplies. Also, China is protecting and calming down its border against the Korean immigrants in China.
However, China is surrounded by many challengers and so China sees North Korea as a buffer state against South Korea where 1000’s of US military troops are settled. Also, there has been a great number of investments and infra-structure building in North Korea by Chinese firms and companies. And in return China is extracting mineral resources from North Korea’s region. This way China is protecting and serving its own national interests while also helping out the North Korean interests and raising many of its people out of poverty.
A.Snyder, Scott. “U.S. Policy Toward North Korea.” Council on Foreign Affairs, January 2013.
Armenian, Red. 26 January, 2011. (accessed April 15, 2914).
Dingli, Shen. “Scribd.” 2006. (accessed April 8, 2014).
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Xu, Jayshree Bajoria and Beina. India’s Strategic Studies. Febuary 21, 2013. (accessed April 16, 2014).

[1] Dingli, Shen. “Scribd.” 2006. (accessed April 8, 2014).
[2] Armenian, Red. 26 January, 2011. (accessed April 15, 2914).
[3] A.Snyder, Scott. “U.S. Policy Toward North Korea.” Council on Foreign Affairs, January 2013.
[4] Henderson, Barney. Sreaves32. March 29, 2013. (accessed April 6, 2014).
[5] March 15, 2014. (accessed April 10, 2014).
[6] A.Snyder, Scott. “U.S. Policy Toward North Korea.” Council on Foreign Affairs, January 2013.

History of the North and South Korea Border Conflict

In recent years, the relation between North Korea and South Korea becomes better. And in the latest news, the two parts of Korea decided to stop the conflict and sign the peace treaty. That even surprised people around the world and attracted many political criticizers from multiple nations. So what happened to make the conflict between North and South Korea become so famous? Why did Korea divide into two parts as the North and the South? How did the Korean War relate to World War II? And what did Korea do to make it become the highest security concern to the US? We all know that since the development of nations around the world, the need for expanding the territory of those countries has escalated as well. However, the region of each country is regulated by UN rules and international order. Therefore, more and more nations fight over their regions. North Korea wanted to expand its territory so started to invade South Korea’s region and created one of the most popular regional conflict, which is known as North-South Korea border dispute.

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The tension between North and South Korea has continuously lasted. The roots of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula started in 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Before 1945, Korea was still a part of the Empire of Japan. However, the situation started to change in August 1945. Japan’s Kwantung Army surrendered the Red Army, “The northern part of the Korean peninsula was liberated,” this statement means that at that time, only a northern part of Korea was free from Japanese Army. Two separate zones of the country were formed along the 38th parallel between USSR in the North and the US in the South. As a consequence, the two divided nations would receive supervision from the two different parties. North Korea or known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea got help from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), while the South was under the protection of the US. In 1947, the issue of forming the single state of Korea was mentioned in UN Commission on August 1948, the Republic of Korea was proclaimed.
Over time, the differences of military and political
regimes between two countries develop and create a massive tension. However, the conflict between
the two parts of Korean Peninsula started to break out in June 1950. North Korea provoked
bloody strife when Prime Minister of North Korea, Kim Il-sung decided to invade the South. There were 75000
North Korean soldiers running across the 38th, and 10,000 soldiers died daily before the war broke out. On June 25, 1950, the war happened
“between US Armed Forces, along with 15 other countries under the banner
of a UN multinational force fighting for South Korea, and the DPRK, backed by Chinese and Soviet troops.” which was known as
the Korean War.
So, what is the real reason for the bloody conflict
between North and South Korea last for a half of a decade? The tension of two
parts of the Korean peninsula is in the hottest stage. This battle got a lot of attention from
multination around the world. Many people drew up possible hypothesizes about
the factor of Korea War. However, there were still many questions remained
unanswered over time. The collision was related to World War II and believed to be a part of
the international power struggle between USSR and the US.
In the North, Kim II Jung received the help his patrons included the Soviet Union and China. He formed his country as The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Kim II Jung also rose up skillful political leaders who knew how to build an aura of captivating charismatic power. Therefore, the president of North Korea controlled his country by force and regulations. North Korean people could be in jail if they against these rules. They had a very limited contact with the actual world. The country constructed itself as a dictatorship nation. Additionally, North Korea tried to build a good relationship with the Soviet Union to borrow USSR’s army to expand territory. Kim II Jung desired to reunify Korea. Thus, he repeatedly asked Joseph Stalin for military permission long time before the invention, according to The Wilson Quarterly. Moreover, at that time, USSR and The US were in the state of cold war. Stalin wanted to use Korean War as a means of measuring the West’s power. The leader of Soviet Union wanted to demonstrate its aggressiveness to the world. And if there would be no resistance, Korean War would become a stepping stone for USSR to conquer the world.
On the other hand, South Korea was also democratic regime with
fewer regulations. Citizen vote elected Prime Minister. People had the freedom of speech and connected
to the world around. South Korean at that time was allied with the US and others fifteen
countries. The US declared that it would not guarantee South Korea’s security, according to The
Wilson Quarterly. The purpose of that declaration was not to make USSR not to have any
caution with the US power. USA wanted to give an unexpected counter-attack
to USSR to express their military potential. They also meant to threaten others plans of
The Korean War began on June 25, 1590. Primarily, people thought it
happened to be a civil war between two parts of a country. However, The Korean War was
an international offence when the Soviet Union planned the North Korea’s attack.  Moreover, Soviet-led tens of thousands of North Korean
soldiers across the 38th parallel invade South Korea territory. As an expectation, the US and other
fifteen countries countered the Korean War aims to change the international
Until 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s threated to use nuclear weapons on
the northern continent. Worrying about the desolation of nuclear missile on the
after Stalin’s death, his uncertain successors, decided to end the Korean War via the armistice.
In 1953, over a million soldiers and civilians not only
from both sides of Korea but also from America, China, Russia and Britain dead. This war created a fear of the ‘domino effects’
to many allied nations. People recognize that the price of victory
would be too high for any party; there was no point in letting the war
continued. Fortunately, an armistice agreement was created in Panmunjom on July 27, 1953, and signed by both
parties of Korea. In the armistice, although official peace between the North and
the South was not established, a “demarcation line with a four-kilometer-wide
demilitarized zone on both sides.” After that, in July 1972, the North and the South signed another treaty, the North-South
Joint Statement. The statement was mainly about “independently, without reliance on foreign powers; peacefully, and based on a great
ethnic consolidation.”
After the Korean war, both parts of Korea made much of devastations
their countries. North Korea lost its essential source of support due to the collapsing
of USSR.
Also, it
lost all of the usual diplomatic relations with other countries and became the
prominent security concerns of the United Nations. Furthermore, many Korean families were split due to the
different kind of thoughts, either communism or non-communism. While South Korea
became a significant economic and technological power, North Korea is still poverty, heavily militarized
nation. The
differences put North and South Korean in the state of ‘ready-to-fight’ over a
period and have no clue of ending.
Even though the Korean War ended for more than half of a century and many treaties were signed to keep the national peace. Technically, the two parts of the Korean Peninsula are still in the state of cold war. This tension does not only affect the diplomatic relations between North and South Korea but also become an international concern. Other allied countries started to have precaution with North Korea, North Korea isolates itself as an independent, socialist state and become aggressive to the world. The tension between North and South Korea has been continued up until now and causes many damages on both sides of the Korean Continent. While North Korea suffered from famine and economic crisis and the political system was predicted to be regressed. In the South, another vision of reformation developed. Korean people thought that the reunification would happen organically – not through military force or political solution. However, the idea that each part is following is different from the other. North Korea stubbornly wants to reunite with South Korea under North Korea’s philosophy, socialism. On the other hand, South Korean intends to run the country as a democratic system. Therefore, the questions of achieving reunification remain unanswered over time.
In South Korea, the government wants to run the country under a
democratic system. Because the South had a larger population compared to the North, thus, it cannot be managed
in the same way as Kim’s empire. South Korea seeks freedom for its people. Park Chung Hee wants
his citizens to talk what they want freely. Citizens have a right to decide who would be
their prime minister. Also, residents are also allowed to connect to the world. Moreover, Park President wants
to develop the Korean economic. Due to the division along Korean Peninsula, Korean economy was
damaged enormously. The North-South joint factory was forced to close. As a result, hundreds of North
Korean have to return to their state. The unemployed rate in the North escalated
dramatically. Electric power and water supply have also been cut as well. In the term of
tightening up the sanction on North Korea, the national economic system was almost
collapsed. The deviation of economies between North and South Korea makes the
unification more difficult than ever. Park Chung Hee wants to get close to the North, balance out the
differences and turn Korea into the most economical and technological in Asia.
In North Korea, Kim Jong Un wants to reunify Korea with a
socialist idea. That idea was formed since Kim II Jung. The president of North Korea had an idea of
building a country as a dictatorial system. He wanted to control his citizens with military
force because he thought that people would be obedient to what he said due to
the scare of death. Also, he wanted the country to be isolated from the rest of the world. When the nation
became backward, the citizens would not dare to rebel; they would be loyal to the
country. North
Korea’s president understood the efficacy of the power force. Thus, he would love to
keep that power not only during his lifetime but also beyond the time of his
throne to mobilize the masses toward ambitious political goals.
Moreover, on the reunification plan, Kim Jong Un also
wants to take advantages of South Korea to develop the military system. According to Heather
Stephenson, “Over the past 20 years, Seoul has given the Kim regime, on the record, over $10 billion, without any
monitoring of who receives the aid.” There was still a mysterious thing to know
whether that amount of money was used to increase living facilities or develop a
nuclear missile. In another source, when Byung- Ho Chung visited North Korea, he asked how people
in that country managed their lives during the difficult time. The North Korea tour
guide just said “For us in North Korea, the thing that really matters is politics. The economy is nothing
compared to politics. We are ready to endure hunger and sacrifice our lives for politics if
necessary.” Kim assimilated his citizens that politic should become their first
priority. North Korean military becomes dangerous and dominant over time while
the quality of living remains the same for half of a century.
The goal of unification of two parts of Korea is
entirely different from each other. While Kim Jung Un only wants the country to be directed
under his authority, South Korea seeks peace and freedom in its nation. It is a dilemma
problem for political experts to solve. Hypothetically, The North follows the democratic system, would its citizens
not make any rebellions to Kim? On the other sides, what would happen if the South change into
Socialism? Would South Korea people be able to obey what Kim says even if his
demand is unreasonable or dictatorial? Also, when Kim becomes the controller, who can stop him
from using South Korea money to develop nuclear weapons?
We all know that North Korea is the most dangerous
potential nuclear force. People are anxious about each movement of North
Korea military. Because, we all know that when the nuclear war happens, it will influence unimaginably enormous to the
nations. No
country can win in nuclear war. What it means is that in the end, the “winner” might
end up less defeated than the “loser” but not too much of differences between
two powers. Both sides of the conflict could have devastation occurred extremely
“Two sides would have neither powers, nor laws, nor cities, nor cultures, nor cradles, nor tomb.” Also, nuclear weapons could be considered a holocaust. No one could survive
after being involved. Additionally, national economic could be desolated. And it would take a lot of time and effort to
restore as the origin. Seeing many adverse outcomes from nuclear
programs, North Korea decides to stop working on nuclear weapons and find the way
to unify with South Korea.
Reunification between the North and the South
has always been a dream for the President of the North Korea, Kim Jong Un. That
idea has been held since Kim II Sung up until now. According The Hill, Harris said “He [Kim
Jong Un] is after what his grandfather failed to do and his father failed to do, and he’s on a path
to achieve what he feels is his natural place and where North Korea’s natural
outcome is: a unified Korean peninsula that’s subject to the communist regime.”
Reunification with the South brings to the North various benefits such as the
developing in the economy and life qualification. Therefore, during last six decades, North Korea tried to set up many negotiating
conferences to set peace between two parts of Korea. However, due to the differences between two nations, a peace treaty was
still a difficult thing to come up.
Until Early April 2019, after the Olympics event, the tension between two
parts of Korea had a sign of reducing when South Korea sent a delegation to Pyongyang
to meet Kim Jong Un. The purpose of this visiting is to prepare for a first
summit meeting after holding high-level talks for more than a decade between
North and South Korea. The summit meeting played a significant role in
any possibility of peace on
the Korean peninsula. This summit was historic; it
was believed to a be conference to erase the tension
between two parts of Korea since 1953s. On April 27th, the first summit meeting finally happened with
the participants of North and South Korea’s Leader. In the conference, Kim said “If we maintain frequent meetings and build trust with the United States and receive promises for
an end to the war and a non-aggression treaty, then why would we need to live in difficulty by keeping our
nuclear weapons?” After half of a
century of setting troops at the border to keep uneasy peace, Kim Jong Un decided
to stop the conflict and find the peace for citizens from both sides. The meeting was
meant to have a peace treaty between two states of Korea by removing all of the
nuclear missiles out of the Korean Peninsula.
On the other hands, seeing the potential benefits when reunifying
with the North, South Korea did many things to make unification happen. South Korea’s leader
even started a committee to make the reunification becomes possible. Base on Mr. Moon’s perspective, the unity could help
Korea to become wealthier by the help from North Korea. Additionally, for the last several years, North Korean society
was one of the most sheltered guarded in the contemporary world. North Korea had a
proud investment in preventing outsiders from seeing anything that might make a
negative impact to the country. When reunifying the two parts of the continent, Korea could have a
better military defense formed on North Korean military. Because of the common goal, at the summit, both North and South
Korean agree to sign the peace agreement. Furthermore, Moon Jea-in met with North Korea’s president
for the second time in a month to carry out the peace committee. Also, Prime Minister of
Korea knows that if the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump is not
going well, denuclearization becomes impossible as well. Therefore, Mr. Moon supported Kim’s
potential meeting with President Donald Trump for positive outcome. Korea authorities
determinedly looked forward to developing sustainable peace between two
In conclusion, reunification is the only possible solution to
help both sides of Korea develop. Even though the tension between North and South
Korea has a sign of declaration. It is still challenging to consolidate as the
two states have different views on the unification. In the North, Kim Jong-un wants to rule the country as a
socialist system. While in the South, Mr. Prime minister seeks to modify the country
democratically. In my opinion, to make reunifications happens, both Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon needs to reduce
their egocentrism and look for the potential benefits beyond the unity. The key is to let
Korean people live peacefully and improve the quality of life.  Although this reunification has to face
obstacles, citizens from both sides are willing to try their best to let
unification happen.Work cited:
CBS/AP. “Seoul: North, South Korean Leaders Meet to
Discuss U.S.-North Korean Summit.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 26 May 2018,
CNBC. “North, South Korea to Hold Summit
on April 27.” CNBC, CNBC, 29 Mar. 2018,
Feffer, John. “Korean Reunification: The View From the North.” The Huffington Post,, 16 June 2016,
Jervis, Robert. “The Political Effects of Nuclear Weapons: A Comment.” International Security, 1 Oct. 1988,
Kettley, Sebastian. “North and South Korea: When Did They Split?
Why Were They at War?”, 16 May 2017,
Kheel, Rebecca. “Top Admiral: North Korea Wants to
Reunify Peninsula, Not Protect Rule.” TheHill, The Hill, 14 Feb. 2018,
Kwon, Heonik, and Byung-Ho Chung “North
Korea: beyond Charismatic Politics” Rowman
& Littlefield Publishers, 2012
Mark Stone, Asia Corespondent, in Pyongyang. “North And South Korea: A Quick History.” Sky News, 25 July 2013,
McKirdy, Euan. “South Korean Workers Leave
Kaesong Industrial Park.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Feb. 2016,
Sputnik. “History of Conflict Between North and South
Koreas in Facts and Details.” Sputnik International, 20 Aug. 2015,
Sang-hun, Choe. “North and South Korea Set
Bold Goals: A Final Peace and No Nuclear Arms.” The New York
Times, The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2018,
Tonge-Hyung, Kim. “Kim Jong Un to Close North Korean Nuclear Test Site, Unify Time Zone with South Korea.” Global News, Global News, 29 Apr. 2018,
Weathersby, Kathryn. “The Korean War revisited.” The
Wilson Quarterly, vol. 23, no. 3, 1999, p. 91+. Literature
Resource Center, Accessed 5 May 2018.
 “What Does Kim Jong-Un Want?” Tufts Now, 7 Dec. 2017,

Trump’s Foreign Policy Agenda on North Korea

Which administration cabinet officer supported foreign policy on North Korea ?
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has supported The president in negotiations with North Korea. Mattis has been against military action against North Korea. However, Mattis is very aware of the danger that North Korea is posing to the United States. This threat has been steadily growing and Secretary of Defense Mattis believes that “North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs.[6]” Mattis has maintained alliances and attended meetings with leaders and representatives of nations that are allies of the US in order to provide pressure from all sides in order to deter and control North Korea’s nuclear proliferation. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also been closely involved in the creation of foreign policy on North Korea. Tillerson’s mentality towards North Korea is very similar to that of Secretary of Defense Mattis. Tillerson believes that negotiations towards peace “can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction.[7]” Both cabinet members have played key roles in the Trump administration on the topic of North Korean foreign policy.

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Was the Congress heavily involved?
Congress has not been heavily involved in North Korean foreign policy. Under President Obama’s term, Congress had passed sanctions. But under President Trump’s term, Congress has not been involved with foreign policy on North Korea. It has been handled so far only by the president in the form of executive orders, along with the council of his cabinet members, mainly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Which interest groups were involved?
The two big interest groups in this situation are Russia and China. Both countries have supplied aid to North Korea in order to keep it in power, but for different reasons. China has supported North Korea for so long in order to keep a buffer zone between them and South Korea, a United States ally. China does not want the US at their border and will keep supporting North Korea as long as the trade-off of goods for this buffer zone is worth it. Russia has also been supplying North Korea with resources for many years, but the reason it is doing so is that it wants to reassert itself as a global power. Russia wants to extend its influence outside of Europe and into the Asian Pacific. Both nations seek to gain something from the survival and future growth of North Korea as a key player in the region. South Korea is the biggest interest group, with North Korea being right above them. If North Korea launched an attack, South Korea would be the first and most likely target of said attack. They will be the first affected by any change in North Korea, for better or worse. The United States also has interests in the region. South Korea has US military bases and is a key ally in the region. If North Korea attacked the south, it would destabilize the region and pose an immediate threat to US interests. If North Korea stopped its production of nuclear weapons and stopped performing tests, it would lower tensions and allow the US to comfortably remain in the region in order to ensure democratic control of the region.
The History of North Korean policy
The United States policy on North Korea begins with the Korean war. This war began in June 1950 and came to an end in July 1953. This war came to fruition when North Korean leader Kim il-Sung successfully convinced Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that the time had come to launch an invasion of South Korea. On June 25, 1950, the north had begun an attack by striking across the 38th parallel into the south. In response to this attack, President Truman decided not to seek a declaration of war from Congress, believing that it would be an overreaction. Immediate action was needed and Truman decided to go directly to the United Nations. He requested sanctions against North Korea, and “Under U.S. guidance, the UN called for the invasion to halt (June 25), then for the UN member states to provide military assistance to the ROK (June 27). [1]” However, this did not stop the fighting and did not keep the North from killing those who protested against them. Once the United States began to back South Korea with troops, they managed to push them back past the 38th parallel until China began to send reinforcements. Soon, a stalemate was reached at the 38th parallel. In July 1953, an armistice was reached but the war was not declared officially over. Future sanctions against North Korea first came from the United Nations. These sanctions began after North Korea displayed its capacity for the creation of nuclear weaponry with its first nuclear test in 2006. The first sanctions came from resolution 1718, “which prevents a range of goods from entering or leaving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and imposes an asset freeze and travel ban on persons related to the nuclear-weapon programme.[2]” The latest sanctions to come from the UN were passed on September 11, 2017, with resolution 2375. These sanctions limited North Korea’s exports “including a ban on the sale of natural gas liquids to the North-East Asian nation, and on its textile exports — while also prohibiting Member States from providing work authorizations to its nationals.[3]” However, North Korea has continually ignored these sanctions and continued to have a nuclear weapons program. The United States has also enacted sanctions against North Korea, beginning in 2016 with President Obama. The proposed sanctions passed both the house and senate. The sanctions “Impose[d] mandatory sanctions for entities that are involved in North Korea’s mineral or metal trade, which contribute to a large component of the country’s foreign export earnings.[4]” The most recent sanctions have come from President Trump on September 25, 2017, which were enacted as executive orders. The executive order “expanded his controversial travel ban to include people from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, citing security concerns.[5]” However, despite these actions, North Korea has not been deterred from continuing its developments of Nuclear weapons.
Evaluation of the foreign policy on North Korea
The United States foreign policy on North Korea has been focused on sanctions that will put a strain on both their economy and the progression of their nuclear program. These sanctions have limited both their imports and exports so that they may not purchase resources nor make money by selling the goods that they do have, such as natural gas. These sanctions have been ineffective, no matter how restrictive they have been, due to their allies supplying them with the resources that they need to maintain power. Further sanctions will prove to be fruitless if this issue is not solved, and it may be best to find another way to limit their production of nuclear arms. However, this will not be possible if North Korea is pushed to the point where it will attack. In the past few months, the president has been threatening military action towards North Korea if they do not stop testing ICBMs. President Trump has posted a tweet on the matter, stating that “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work![8]” The growing threat of North Korea is a result of its recent successful missile tests. This success paired with the ineffectiveness of past sanctions is pushing The United States towards considering a preemptive strike on North Korea, especially if negotiations break down further.
 Military action is not
needed in order to resolve the threat that North Korea is posing on the United
States and its allies. Sanctions have proved to be ineffective towards
deterring them from continuing a nuclear weapons program, but perhaps a
different course of action could be taken to progress these talks. It would be
best to refrain from escalating the situation by remaining quiet and not speak
about military action, which may be what they want because that would allow
them to justify the existence of their program. A neutral party may be
necessary to provide a medium for communications between the United States and
North Korea. The two leaders would not be able to speak and negotiate publicly
due to the ramifications of doing so. North Korea would begin to lose support
from their allies, Russia and China. The United States also could not hold public
negotiations due to their classification of North Korea as a sponsor of
terrorism. Negotiating with North Korea may give the impression that the US
will negotiate with terrorists. This part of the problem can be solved by
declassifying them as a sponsor of terror. This would ease tensions slightly
and may even open a small path for diplomacy. A party that is both familiar
with and impartial towards the United States and North Korea would ease the
progression of diplomacy. This would be the way to de-escalate the situation in
North Korea and avoid military action that would lead to a second Korean war,
which is what forced these tensions to be created in the first place.
Works Cited
Millett, Allan R. “Korean War.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc, 17 July 2017. Accessed 2 Dec. 2017.“SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS NUCLEAR TEST BY DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1718 (2006).” United Nations, United Nations, 14 Oct. 2006, Accessed 2 Dec. 2017.“Security Council Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Including Bans on Natural Gas Sales, Work Authorization for Its Nationals.” United Nations, United Nations, 11 Sept. 2017, Accessed 2 Dec. 2017.Fifield, Anna. “Punishing North Korea: A rundown on current sanctions.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2016. Accessed 4 Dec. 2017.“US expands travel ban to include N Korea.” BBC, BBC, 25 Sept. 2017, Accessed 4 Dec. 2017Manchester, Julia. “Mattis: North Korea threat has ‘accelerated’.” The Hill, The Hill, 28 Oct. 2017. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017Sanger, David E. “Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2017. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.Trump, Donald J. (@realDonaldTrump) “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!” 9 Oct. 2017, 3:50 AM, Tweet

Costa’s Expansion into South Korea

Costa Coffee was founded in 1971 and has grown over time to be the second largest coffee chain in the world (behind Starbucks) and the largest in the UK. It currently operates in 31 countries around the world and has recently been acquired by The Coca-Cola Company for $5.1 billion which indicates there will be further global growth. The company relies on two main store formats; traditional coffee shops and express vending machines known as Costa Express. These are commonly situated in areas with high amounts of footfall such as high streets, transportation, universities and hospitals. UK Costa Express revenue significantly increased by 18% in 2018 due to changing consumer habits (RetailAnalysis, 2018). They allow Costa to cater to a larger proportion of consumers and show that they are willing to adapt to consumer needs in order to meet demand (does not make sense?). In this report we will assess South Korea using OLI and PESTEL before discussing different modes of entry which Costa could undertake.

Methods and materials

We are using two main frameworks to understand if South Korea is a good country for Costa to expand into. The first we are using is OLI which looks at the ownership advantages, locational advantages and internationalisation advantages. In order to further understand the locational advantages we are using PESTEL which stands for political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal. These two frameworks allow us to look at all areas of business in order to advise on the best possible course of action.


Ownership Advantages

In 2010, Costa overtook Starbucks to become the largest coffee brand in the UK due to the operation of a total of 1,069 stores (Tajeram M., 2018). In 2018 this had increased to 2,422 stores with an additional 1,399 stores overseas. Simultaneously, the revenue of Costa increased steadily from 2010 to 2018 (The Statistics Portal). This high number of stores gives a strong global presence which is the main ownership advantage. Costa will continue to expand in order to increase their global market share after being acquired by Coca-Cola in January 2019 (Molly Fleming, 2018).

Products and Trademark

Costa primarily sells coffee, along with other hot and cold drinks, savoury snacks, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. The distinctive selling point of Costa coffee lies in their coffee making process. They insist on selecting the best coffee beans and employ coffee roasting masters who have recognised coffee industry professional qualifications in order to provide customers with the best product experience. Costa uses the classic slow roasting method to avoid the burning of coffee which occurs when it’s roasted at a high temperature for a short time. This allows the coffee beans to release a more mellow taste. They innovatively blend different coffee beans and launch new products according to the tastes of people in different countries and regions. The brand power of Costa coffee is strong as it is widely recognised and their customers have a high level of brand loyalty.

Location Advantages


Historically, South Korea has had a restrictive negative attitude towards foreign direct investment. In order to develop national industries and prevent foreign capital from controlling the lifeline of the country, South Korea enacted the Foreign Capital Introduction Law in 1960 to control and restrict foreign direct investment. In 1966, South Korea revised the Foreign Capital Introduction Law, which adopted a more relaxed policy on foreign capital. Foreign direct investment was mainly for the export of trade services or for imported industries which couldn’t be met by domestic supply, lack of raw materials or are very complex technologically. Foreign investment is mainly based on joint ventures. The Foreign Capital Introduction Law, revised by South Korea in 1973, even prohibited foreign‑owned enterprises.

In the 1980s, due to the balance of payments deficit, South Korea tightened overseas direct investment by Korean businessmen and relaxed restrictions on foreign capital inflows. For the sectoral distribution of FDI flows to South Korea, manufacturing was the largest recipient in the early liberalization period, absorbing 67.4% of FDI in the period 1962-1986. This trend continued until 1993, when the share of the manufacturing sector exceeded 65% of total FDI inflows. Manufacturing as a percentage of total foreign direct investment has remained at about 55% since 1996 (Kim and Hwang, 2000). After the Asian financial crisis, South Korea realized the importance of foreign direct investment. In 1998, South Korea enacted the Foreign Investment Promotion Law to encourage foreign direct investment, which greatly improved the investment environment in South Korea. For the first time, the regulation allows local governments to grant foreign direct investment tax and rent reductions, simplifying the process of approval of foreign direct investment and making it transparent. In addition, the regulation also proposes to establish foreign investment zones to attract large-scale foreign direct investment.


South Korea’s economy appears to be recovering and stabilizing. A comprehensive restructuring of the financial sector will make it more robust, transparent and efficient. In turn, a stronger financial system would increase the productivity and profitability of real sector investment by allocating capital on an economic rather than political or other considerations. All these will help create a better investment environment for medium – and long-term foreign investors.

More promising for foreign investors is a fundamental shift in government policy and, to a lesser extent, public attitudes. The government seems determined to use foreign direct investment as a means of building a more efficient and productive economy. The Korean economy desperately needs the capital, technology, expertise and management expertise associated with FDI to overcome its structural problems. In turn, a more efficient economy will attract more foreign investors. Thus, there is a symbiotic relationship between FDI and efficiency. In short, the prospects for foreign direct investment in South Korea are brighter than ever. (Park and Kang, 2000)


In South Korea, the strongest competitors of CostaareStarbucks and Ediya coffee. Firstly Starbucks dominated the Korean coffee market (International Comunicaffe, 2017). It was launched in South Korea in 1999 and had a rapid expansion with South Korea having one of the most amount of stores anywhere in the world with regards to its population, area and GDP (Visualising Korea, 2018). Close ties between South Korea and the United States helped to stimulate domestic demand for coffee (Keyhole, 2015). Moreover, South Koreans consider that Starbucks symbolizes wealth and status, and the awareness of health benefits associated with black coffee promoted the brand further in South Korea (ibid). Furthermore, the policy that franchises are not allowed to open more than one stores within a 500 meter radius (Ho Kyeong Jang, 2018) limited its competitors’ growth such as Caffé Bene which is the largest local coffeehouse chain. Ediya Coffee owns the largest number of coffee stores in South Korea in 2017 (International Comunicaffe, 2017) and is estimated to be the most profitable coffee franchise. (Ho Kyeong Jang, 2018).

The competition in Korean coffee market is further intensified by the fact that coffee consumption in Korea is growing at a rate of 30% a year which is five times faster than demand in other countries in Pacific region (Coffee and Cocoa International, 2016). The potential size of the market demand attracts more coffee brands to join, for instance, Blue Bottle Coffee which comes from the United States announced that their second coffee store will be opened in Seoul in the second quarter of 2019 (MarketWatch, 2019). Although Costa has lost the advantage of being a first mover, it should still succeed because of the high level of brand awareness and quality. The price of Starbucks in Korea is the highest in the world, which means that the relative higher price of Costa to domestic brands should not be a disadvantage.


(to follow)


South Korea is a highly technologically advanced country, for example it has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world. (ZOEY CHONG, 2018). The Korean public are big users of social media such as Instagram and Twitter which allows them to learn about the products they want (Nordeatrade, 2019). Therefore, there is an opportunity for Costa to promote themselves on social media in order to establish their reputation and attract more customers. In addition, Costa may benefit from Korea being the world’s largest exporter of machinery and the 5th largest R&D power worldwide (ibid) as they could be able to produce their machines there, allowing them to save money.


Costa needs to consider the impact of its operations on the environments in which operates in as well as the environmental regulations in different locations that it wishes to diversify into.  Environmental regulations can also impact relationships between Costa and its host country i.e. South Korea including communities and other businesses. 

South Korea’s environmental policies needs to radically improve and lack clear direction “fall into the bottom ranks (rank 36) in international comparison. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.3 points relative to 2014” which means that Costa’s commitment to environmental sustainability will be welcomed by the South Korean government.

Costa is committed to the improving and sustaining the environment and does everything it can to use sustainable, recyclable products and equipment.  Costa’s coffee roastery is “one of the greenest in the world with year on year carbon reduction, an amazing 100% renewable energy supply and 0% waste to landfill”

Costa needs a sustainable milk supply that is utterly traceable to succeed in its operations and at present this may present a challenge to South Korea due to issues that it has had over the years (as recent as 2018) with foot and mouth disease.  In the UK Costa is committed to “supporting the British dairy industry and safeguarding future British milk supplies” and this country support could be attractive to South Korea as there is potential for joint ventures with other organisations.


The key law relating to foreign investment is the foreign investment promotion act (FIPA). FIPA regulates foreign direct investment (excluding portfolio investments), the purchase of shares in Korean companies by foreign entities or individuals to maintain financial relationships.

The main regulatory agencies are the trade, industry and energy ministries, which are the central administrative agencies that implement various foreign investment regulations.

Korea has also designated certain regional areas to induce foreign investment under the Free Trade Zone Act and the Free Economic Zone Act.

These Acts are administered by the trade, industry and energy departments and specific local governments that apply to the free trade/economic zone.  Foreign exchange and remittances in connection with foreign investment are regulated by the foreign exchange transactions act (FETA). Tax incentives for foreign investment obtained under FIPA are governed by the special tax limitation act (RSTA) and other tax-related laws. The ministry of strategy and finance is the main government agency implementing the FETA and RSTA.

In addition, foreign investment companies and their operations are governed by various domestic laws, regardless of foreign investment, since they are domestic companies established under Korean law. But if the foreign entity owns 50 per cent or more of the shares, the companies will be considered “foreign companies” expropriating the land.

Internationalisation Advantages

A multi-national enterprise can enter a foreign market in several ways including: international franchising, having branches, contractual alliances and equity joint ventures and wholly foreign‑owned subsidiaries. Costa being owned by Coca-Cola could enter the South Korean’s market through direct investments however due to not having a track record of success in the coffee market joint ventures will be the suggested way forward looking to replicate the success that Costa has had in the China market through joint ventures.  “Whitbread PLC announces that Costa has acquired 49% of its South China Joint Venture from its JV partner, Yueda, for RMB 310 million (£35 million). This acquisition provides full ownership in this important growth market and is in line with Whitbread’s strategy to focus on key international opportunities.  Costa currently owns 51% of the joint venture which operates 252 stores in the south of China, including 93 stores in Shanghai.”(Whitbread, 2017))

The OLI paradigm analyses “why”, “where” and “when” MNCs make decisions regarding ownership, locational and internalization (OLI) advantages. Ownership advantages are specific to a particular firm, constitute competitive advantages towards rivals and allow the company to take advantage of investment opportunities both domestically and internationally. Dunning (1980) divided ownership advantages into three types: the first is the standard advantages, which any firm can have over another producing in the same country, including: size, monopoly position, established market position, special access to inputs or and markets, and superior technical and/or organizational knowledge. The second type regards the advantages that a branch of a national firm may have over a new firm, specifically relating to the benefits acquired for belonging to an existing organization.

These benefits include access to innovation and technology at low marginal costs, access to cheaper inputs and knowledge about market and local production. The third type of ownership advantage refers to the experience that the firm has because of its involvement in international operations, and the multi‑nationality fostered by the firm’s background (Letto-Guilles, 2005). In the same direction, ownership advantages evidence that what a firm does, or is about to do, is closely linked to its routines and previous bases (Shin‑Horng & Meng Chun, 2005).

Risk and Strategies

Globalization has been a competitive strategy that many companies have adopted in order to achieve and expand market share and profitability and maintain sustainable development. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is an internalisation strategy in which the firm establishes a physical presence abroad by acquiring productive assets such as capital, technology, labour, plant and equipment. When a firm is entering a foreign market or internationally expanding for the first time, there are many potential risks. It is notable that the concept of risk and uncertainty cannot be ignored. In this part, the potential risks that Costa can encounter when entering the South Korea market will be discussed and strategic recommendations are provided to conquer them.  

Firstly, Costa needs to consider the risk of losing control of its technology to its partner by doing joint venture. Even though joint- venture agreements can be made to reduce the risks and get holding mass ownership in the enterprise, it can be difficult to find a foreign partner who is willing to do business for minority ownership. Moreover, Costa should think about the power of control over subsidiaries. There may be a risk of getting lesser control compared to the foreign partner.

Secondly, many potential risks can be occurred by acquisition. Many acquisitions collapse because of insufficient screening before the acquisition, misunderstanding between the cultures of the acquiring and acquired firms and sometimes overpay for the assets of the acquired firm. These difficulties can be overcome by thinking carefully about acquisition strategy. Thus, Costa needs to consider the operation, financial position, and management culture of the acquired firm. After that, Costa has to make sure that the firm does not pay too much for acquisition and the organisational cultures are similar

Thirdly, market risk is also a prospective danger for Costa. A coffee shop occupies almost one in every two buildings in popular retail and business area of South Korea. The market is getting crowded gradually and South Korea’s café boom is near saturation point. (U.S., 2019) In this situation, the sector that Costa want to target and its own positioning is becoming a key factor to think about. Costa needs to undertake a thorough market analysis in order to understand the demand conditions.

Another risk Costa will face is that the high density of competition in the South Korea’s coffee market. There are already many big competitors like Starbucks, Coffee’ Bene, Ediya and 7-Eleven. Starbucks stands as a market leader and it ahead of all competitors in South Korea. (Comunicaffe International, 2019) With regards to this point, the strategy that Costa adopt is very important to survival in the market. Costa should adopt the most competitive strategy that creates the most value for the firm.

Lastly, a business strategy risk is a big factor that Costa needs to consider. It cannot be denied that deciding which strategy to undertake is a very essential but difficult step. Costa needs to use a strategy that allows the firm to enter the market smoothly whilst growing quickly and sustainably.


(RetailAnalysis, 2018) Kristian source of reference

(Tajeram M., 2018) ? Source of reference

(The Statistics Portal) ? Source of reference

Marketingweekcom. 2019. Marketing Week. [Online]. [5 February 2019]. Available from: (date of access)

(Kim and Hwang, 2000) ? Source of reference

The Decline of the Relationship between the US and North Korea

The Fog of War: Declining North Korea-United States
Relations from Clinton
to Trump
The sporadic surges in North Korean hostility amidst an already acrimonious United States-North Korea relationship has been widely regarded by the American public until late as a commonplace phenomenon of needless concern. While the United States and its democratic counterpart in South Korea have gradually grown accustomed to such irregularities in state behaviour, the codification of newfound sanctions with respect to North Korea, imposed without abstention by the United Nations Security Council at the behest of the Trump administration in 2017, has elicited profound consequences[1]. Viewing the testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as an unwarranted act of aggression, the United States’ encouragement of economic sanctions was strategically devised to incapacitate North Korean development; a plan of action propagating the current rise in open hostility[2]. Though the last twenty-five years of attempts at establishing open diplomacy with North Korea by the U.S. have had minimal (if not utterly unsuccessful) results, the progressive deterioration in foreign relations from President Clinton’s calculated attempt at negotiating nuclear non-proliferation to President Trump’s highly publicized anti-North Korean saber-rattling offer worrying context behind the present-day bilateral nadir[3].

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The dissolution of the Soviet Union at the close of the 20th century fundamentally altered the former world balance of allegiances between East and West in its creation of a global power vacuum across the former Soviet satellites and remaining Communist holdouts alike. Among the elder President Bush’s foremost challenges in this unipolar (yet highly unstable) new world order was carefully preventing the proliferation of nuclear stockpiles, exemplified in his continued policies of rapprochement with Gorbachev’s rapidly fragmenting Soviet Union[4]. President Clinton would prudently elect to build upon his predecessor’s legacy by keenly cooperating with Russia and Great Britain for disarmament in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine through the 1994 Budapest Memorandum[5]. However, Clinton would face his greatest hurdle in stopping nuclear proliferation in the insular and ever-inflexible “hermit kingdom” that same year. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), having suspected North Korea’s then-recently inaugurated Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center of utilizing undeclared fissile material for martial purposes, attempted to schedule a routine inspection to no avail[6]. Soon after, North Korea announced to profound global disquiet its immediate withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; the first pullout of such a kind[7]. Displeased with the IAEA’s lack of progress (and without a doubt, the possibility of NPT withdrawals becoming a trend), Clinton officials began high-level talks with North Korea in an attempt to find common ground[8]. With their initial bargaining position weak and the regime on the cusp of instability due to widespread hunger effected by the loss of their de facto Soviet suzerain[9], North Korea conceded to the Agreed Framework of 1994, freezing the processing of graphite in exchange for the cessation of American-South Korea joint military training and the supplying of oil on an annual basis[10]. Despite the seemingly conciliatory tone in which negotiations were pursued, subsequent disclosures of government documents would reveal the Clinton administration was prepared to sanction military force if met without cooperation[11]. This precarious balance between the United States’ decision to present themselves outwardly with honeyed open-handedness while concealing their inward militancy towards the rogue state would form the backdrop for future administrations’ dealings with North Korea until Trump’s presidency.
While many contend that the failure to reset relations partially fell upon the notable partisanship of the American political process, as exemplified in the Republican-dominated Congress’ opposition to North Korean relief during Clinton’s second term[12], the North Koreans would in their own regard secretively reopen Yongbyon in 1998[13]. However, upon the junior President Bush’s accession in 2001, the leading Republicans had conceded to abandoning their former unwillingness to compromise and to instead continue Clinton’s advocacy of North-South reconciliation[14]. Unfortunately, all progress towards a potential North Korean reset would be made void in the advent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, whereupon an ignited American desire for vengeance would instil profound global apprehension in a newfound uneasiness not seen since the Cold War. Lumping in North Korea with the likes of Iraq and Iran in Bush’s “axis of evil”, a newly bellicose Bush administration would openly consider the possibility of regime change in North Korea to safeguard American security[15]. In light of such a drastic shift in foreign policy, Clinton’s Agreed Framework would ultimately collapse. After the dust of 9/11 had settled, the United States would attempt to engage in diplomacy with North Korea afresh through the six-party talks after the regime’s first low-yield nuclear detonation in 2006[16]. Shortly after, a young charismatic Senator from Illinois would ascend to the Office of the President campaigning on hope and change in American governance both at home and abroad.
President Obama, though woven from a different cloth then his neoconservative forerunner, would maintain much of his hardline rhetoric with the seemingly non-negotiable regime. Like Bush before him, Obama and his predecessor both saw any development towards a period of American détente with North Korea breakdown within their first year in office. In Obama’s case, continued North Korean satellite experimentation in 2009 in direct opposition to a coordinated American-North Korean bilateral mandate quickly rendered the painstaking six-party talks of three years void[17]. On the eve of Obama’s second term in late 2012, North Korean-American relations would begin an unprecedented decline from which attempts at reconciliation have yet to occur. With North Korea succeeding in their endeavours to put an object into orbit, coupled with several further nuclear tests in 2013 and 2016, an irate American government and public alike had grown exhausted of patiently bargaining with a petulant state ostensibly incapable of negotiation[18]. This trend would be brought out in then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s hawkish rhetoric regarding North Korea.
Amidst the last stages of the 2016 Republican primaries, front-runner Donald Trump sent shockwaves throughout the American public and the world stage alike by championing the prospect of diminishing economic interdependence with China due to their prominent ties to North Korea in favour of stronger American-South Korean association[19]. This “two-front” policy would advocate forced North Korean isolation from without by destabilizing Chinese-North Korean relations while simultaneously showboating American-South Korean military capabilities in order to incur the recognition of American primacy and in time, long-standing North Korean submission. However, Trump’s aggressive grandstanding would come to provoke far more difficulties then expected upon his unforeseen election win in 2016. In response to a newfound foreign threat to his authority, Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un would exacerbate nuclear experimentation throughout 2017, culminating in the succesful testing of a thermonuclear device and an ICBM in early September[20]. However, this flaunting of military resurgency differed from the typical North Korean teeth-gnashing of the past, for it chillingly represented the first time in twenty-six years that an openly belligerent nation had obtained the power to hypothetically strike the American mainland[21]. With escalating antagonism between the two countries in a visible death spiral, a declaration of war seemingly teeters on razor’s edge.
The deterioration of bilateral relations between the United States and North Korea from Clinton to Trump has, amidst other conflicts, quashed idealistic aspirations for a post-Cold War climate wholly dependant on peace and cooperation over the archaic throes of war. As the burden of the rational actor falls upon the American government in this tenuous scenario, they must take heed to understand the “siege mentality” permeating North Korean society. An outlook developed over centuries through North Korea’s historical and present-day hermitic culture and their contemporary interactions with the West since the Korean War, the United States has been unconditionally viewed by the North Korean government as both an aggressor and a tangible threat to their future[22]. As such, American aggrandizement in the face of innate North Korean distrust has accomplished naught but consolidate preconceived notions about the U.S[23]. Despite the apparent futility of the conflict at-hand, policymakers in Washington would do well to keep such knowledge in mind and reopen diplomatic channels between the U.S. and North Korea in order to peacefully bridge the present crisis, avert lasting damage and conceive diplomatic solutions for the future based on overcoming such a cloistered ideology.

Bajoria, Jayshree and Beina Xu. “The Six Party Talks on North Korea’s Nuclear Program.”Council on Foreign Relations. September 30, 2013. (February 23, 2018).Bradsher, Keith. “Noting Soviet Eclipse, Baker Sees Arms Risks.” The New York Times. December 9, 1991. (February 23, 2018).Campbell, Colin. “DONALD TRUMP: Here’s how I’d handle that ‘madman’ in North Korea.” Business Insider. January 6, 2016. (February 23, 2018).Campos, Rodrigo and Hyonhee Shin. “U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions on North Korea over missile test.” Reuters. December 22, 2017. (February 23, 2018).Farago, Niv. “Washington’s failure to resolve the North Korean nuclear conundrum: examining two decades of US policy.” International Affairs 92 (September 2016): 1127-1145.Hwang, Jihwan. “Realism and U.S. Foreign Policy toward North Korea: The Clinton and Bush Administrations in Comparative Perspective.” World Affairs 167 (Summer 2004): 15-29.Kessler, Glen. “How Cotton’s misguided history lesson on the North Korean nuclear deal.” The Washington Post. March 13, 2015. (February 23, 2018).Kim, Bomi. “North Korea’s Siege Mentality: A Sociopolitical Analysis of the Kim Jong-un Regime’s Foreign Policies.” Asian Perspective 40 (April-June 2016): 223-243.Lee, Eric Yong Joong. “Will Trump’s Military Option against North Korea Work? Legal and Political Restraints.” Journal of East Asia & International Law 10 (Autumn 2017): 451-462.Price, Greg. “North Korea’s Nuclear Threat Isn’t Really Trump’s Fault: How Bush, Clinton and Obama Contributed to Conflict.” Newsweek. August 10, 2017. (February 23, 2018).Ryan, Maria. “Why America’s 1994 deal with North Korea failed – and what Trump can learn from it.” The Independent. August 4, 2017. (February 23, 2018).Weissman, Jordan. “How Kim Jong il Starved North Korea.” The Atlantic. December 20, 2011. (February 23, 2018).Yost, David S. “The Budapest Memorandum and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.” International Affairs 91 (May 2015): 503-538.

[1] Rodrigo Campos and Hyonhee Shin, “U.N. Security Council imposes new
sanctions on North Korea
over missile test,” Reuters, December 22, 2017,
February 23, 2018.
[2] Campos and Shin, “U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions”.
[3] Greg Price, “North Korea’s Nuclear Threat Isn’t Really Trump’s
Fault: How Bush, Clinton and Obama Contributed to Conflict,” Newsweek, August 10, 2017,
February 23, 2018.
[4] Keith Bradsher, “Noting Soviet Eclipse, Baker Sees Arms Risks,” The New York Times, December 9, 1991,
February 23, 2018.
[5] David S. Yost, “The
Budapest Memorandum and Russia’s
intervention in Ukraine.,” International
Affairs 91 (May 2015): 508.
[6] Jihwan Hwang, “Realism and
Foreign Policy toward North
Korea: The Clinton and Bush Administrations in
Comparative Perspective.,” World
Affairs 167 (Summer 2004): 24.
[7] Hwang, 23.
[8] Ibid, 24.
[9] Jordan Weissman, “How Kim Jong il Starved North Korea,” The Atlantic, December 20, 2011,
February 23, 2018.
[10] Hwang, 24.
[11] Ibid, 25.
[12] Maria Ryan, “Why America’s 1994 deal with North Korea failed – and
what Trump can learn from it,” The
Independent, August 4, 2017,
February 23, 2018.
[13] Glen Kessler, “How Cotton’s misguided history lesson on the North
Korean nuclear deal,” The Washington Post,
March 13, 2015,
February 23, 2018.
[14] Hwang, 25.
[15] Ibid, 26.
[16] Jayshree Bajoria and Beina Xu, “The Six Party Talks on North Korea’s
Nuclear Program,” Council on Foreign
Relations, September 30,
2013, February 23, 2018.
[17] Niv Farago, “Washington’s failure to
resolve the North Korean nuclear conundrum: examining two decades of US policy,” International Affairs 92 (September 2016): 1141.
[18] Farago, 1143.
[19] Colin Campbell, “DONALD TRUMP: Here’s how I’d handle that ‘madman’
in North Korea,”
Business Insider, January
6, 2016,
February 23, 2018.
[20] Eric Yong Joong Lee, “Will
Trump’s Military Option against North
Korea Work? Legal and Political Restraints.,”
Journal of East Asia & International
Law 10 (Autumn 2017): 452.
[21] Lee, 452.
[22] Bomi Kim, “North Korea’s
Siege Mentality: A Sociopolitical Analysis of the Kim Jong-un Regime’s Foreign
Policies.,” Asian Perspective 40 (April-June 2016): 240.
[23] Kim, 240.