North Korea’s Faults

 

What keyword comes to mind when you think of North Korea, or to be exact, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? Probably nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-un, or maybe “a threat to the international society”. Most people acknowledge the fact North Korea disobeys UN’s claims or international law, but they do not know which laws they exactly violate. In this article, the missing knowledge of breached international laws will be introduced.

First of all, North Korea is violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). According to World Report 2015, North Koreans suffer from arrest, torture, detention without trial, prison camps if they showed any dislike toward their leader, Kim, or their past leaders.

Moreover, North Koreans are stripped from freedom of information. The government oppresses any organized political opposition, media, civil society organizations, et cetera. They cannot watch or collect any foreign programs or news reports.

Some people think North Korea actually does not have any obligations toward the world to not experiment with nuclear material because it withdrew from the Treaty of Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). However, it has breached three Security Council Resolutions addressed specifically to it and made under Chapter VII of the Charter. Several trade bans were imposed to stop North Korea’s constant testing. Nevertheless, the rogue country keeps on doing “its work”. North Korea has experimented with nuclear weapons 5 times. However, authorities suspect they have done much more.

Surprisingly, China is also breaking international law in the process of handling refugees from North Korea. Despite its obligation to protect refugees under the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 protocol, China consider North Korean refugees as illegal migrants and repatriate them.

So far, we found three main breaches of international law and a little unknown violation made by China. Then what should be done? Or can anything really be done to stop North Korea’s dangerous game?

Chances North Korea will ever admit they violated these laws is very, very low. But it is not impossible. The leader Kim Jong-un is facing difficulty running his country due to natural disasters, poverty, and constant glares from USA, China, Japan, et cetera. In addition, recently North Korea signaled for help for flood relief. According to Bradley Williams, a international relations professor at City University in Hong Kong, “It’s not unheard of, but it’s rare for the North Korean government to make an open and public call for assistance.” North Korea even expressed its concern to South Korea and demanded help. Yet if it truly wants complete help, it will have to make up for it. During that process, leader Kim just might admit his faults.

<References>

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/north-korea

http://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-and-international-law

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/12/asia/north-korea-floods-admission/index.html

 

Written by Je Yun Choi

Income Inequality in Asian Countries

Korea’s income inequality is shown to be the worst. According to the International Monetary Fund, Top 10 percent of the entire Korean population receives 45 percent of the total income. As income inequality problems in Korea have exacerbated over the last two decades, the gap between the haves and the have-nots in other Asian nations has also clearly become apparent. Singapore follows Korea by 10 percent of the whole population holding 42 percent of the country’s wealth, and it is followed by Japan with 41 percent.

As expressing its concerns, IMF noted that “countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to address inequality of opportunities by broadening access to education, health, and financial services.”

In order to delve into the income inequality matter, it is important to view income inequality as a source of inappropriate investment and development in health and education, because wealth is concentrated in the top few percentage of the population. The widening gap between the rich and the poor is a side effect of the rapid economic growth around Asian countries. From 1990 to 2015, even in the midst of the financial crisis that struck Asia and the world, the region grew at around 6 percent, annually.

The perspective of regarding China and India as the “happily ever after countries,” is misleading as such a view neglects the systemic problems plaguing the nations today. The success of these countries is defined by rapid and continuous rates of growth, both aggregate and per capita national income. In addition to this economic growth, substantial reduction in income poverty within these countries draws the world’s attention to consult numerous fiscal policies. Notwithstanding this eye-opening economic progress, the strategy of development had brought relatively high income growth without mammoth improvement in the resource, especially labor, market. This disproportionate economic expansion, hence, has been accompanied by rising inequality in Asian economies, as referring to the increase in Gini coefficient from 36 in 1990 to 40 in 2013 in Asia.

Income inequality needs to be relieved in order to achieve social justice. Regardless of the gradual alterations in fiscal and social policies, fiscal policy and technological progress are crucial forces that can resolve income inequality in advanced economies, while human capital itself has been the sole working force in developing countries. The apt adoption of fiscal policy will combat rising inequality by broadening the coverage of social welfare system.

Education is particularly a suitable solution to rising inequality. Government-driven education programs will further provide the people with diverse opportunities to be involved in many workplaces. Not only students, but adults, who are already involved in their jobs, should be provided with opportunities to hone professional skills, by which they can utilize the acquired skill as a new work-driving force.

40 years ago, Bangladesh was the second poorest country in the world. Responding to inequality in its economic system, the Bangladesh government focused their policies on public services, microfinance programs, education, and the private sector. Likewise, the world should take steps in this direction.

<References>

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2016/03/488_200524.html

http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2010/wp92_2010.pdf

http://www.paulsoninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Li-Shi-cover-photo-369×300.jpeg

Written by Da Eun Lee

 

Ethnic Koreans in China

Where the Chinese have Chinatowns, Koreans have Koreatowns. Koreans, like the Chinese, have an exceptionally strong feeling of affinity to other Koreans. From overseas colleges to the global job markets, Koreans have formed resilient long lasting communities, tied by camaraderie deeply rooted in a common ethnic identity. Reflective of this characteristic, as more Korean startup companies seek opportunities in China, cooperation between ethnic Koreans in China and South Korean businessmen is at its height. Nevertheless, ethnic Koreans in China are facing an identity crisis. According to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture government, the ethnic Korean population has decreased from 860 thousand in 1995 to 80 million in 2009, as the birth rate has sharply declined from a healthy 2 children per person to 0.7 per person (Kim, 3) The spiraling population trend is worrisome, as the Chinese government could ㅡand is considering toㅡ dismantle the prefecture if the minority population drops to less than 30%, which would result in a deprivation of minority privileges enjoyed in mainland China. The core cause underlying the population decline is an increasing number of younger generations of ethnic Koreans identifying themselves as Han Chinese. Critical changes in the socioeconomic framework of ethnic Korean communities and in perceptions regarding South Korea and China have weakened ethnic bonds, threatening the foundation and longevity of ethnic Korean communities in China.

Critical changes in the socioeconomic framework of ethnic Korean communities have weakened ethnic bonds. Ethnic Koreans, referred to as Chaoxion people in China, are centered in Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture, Heilongjiang, and Jianoing province: rural regions in the Northeast. Since the establishment of the People Republic of China (PRC) regime, they have maintained a relatively high living standard in rural China, concentrating on agriculture and specializing in cultivating in rice paddies. In the recent decade, however, they have been increasingly placed in disadvantage in a rapidly urbanizing China. Highly educated Chaoxion people have failed to advance to major political-economic positions in Chinese society, as forming a network of connections (Guanxi) is essential for doing business. Chaoxion people have been limited from accessing educational and vocational opportunities due to their geographical position at the periphery of China, identity as a minority, and lack of command of the Chinese language. This is why a major shift in economic activities has occurred, as Chaoxion people are migrating within China in pursuit of industry and service sectors. Professor Si Joong Kim, in the Economic Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in China, elaborated that growing number of 2nd generation Chaoxion people now work for Chinese companies (translator, factory workers and open businesses (getihu : restaurant, tourism, motels, etc) in major cities or abroad (Kim, 16). Aware of this trend, Chaoxion parents tend to send their children to Han national schools rather than ethnic schools in pursuit of better education. According to the Yanbian prefectural government, in 1991, 26 Korean middle schools were in Liuhe County, but by 2011 there remained only one (Bae). This pattern is repeated across districts as now 700 thousand Chaoxion children are enrolled in Chinese schools. Though such change has brought positive economic benefits and expanded learning opportunities, it has also resulted in social disruptions such as divorce, juvenile delinquency, and, most critically, an identity crisis. Professor Oh of Seoul National University reports that there is “debate among ethnic Korean intellectuals on the real identity of ethnic Koreans in China” and that “ethnic Koreans and leaders are confused about their identity” as more ethnic Koreans opt to assimilate into the Chinese majority culture (Denny). The population decline and mass ethnic realignment mentioned above are both signs of such confusion.

Moreover, this identity crisis has been exacerbated as ethnic Koreans feel disillusionment and disappointment from South Koreans. After the establishment of bilateral trade between China and South Korea in 1992, interaction between South Koreans and Chaoxion people has increased substantially. According to the Korean embassy, “the number of South Korean visits to China, including business trips, tourist visits, and student visits increased substantially throughout the 1990s, surpassing 1 million in 2000.” (Si, 105) Likewise, 70 thousand Chaoxion people now reside in mainland South Korea, comprising 3.8% of the general population. Such interaction has yielded mutual benefits; however has also factored into generating prejudice and discrimination towards Chaoxion people. Chaoxion people can apply to 2 types of visas, each valid for 3 years in South Korea: a high tier F-4 visa and a lower tier H-2 visa. According to Chairman Kwack of the Korean immigration and Diaspora community research center, the legal requirements are too high for Chaoxion people to attain an F-4 visa; they are thus critically limited in job options with a H-2 visa, which only allows Chaoxion people to work at 38 government approved 3-D (dirty-dangerous-difficult) jobs (Kwack). So until 2007, before the H-2 visa was introduced, Chaoxion people were framed as illegal immigrants for 15 years, and have yet to escape this prejudice. Chaoxion people are treated unfairly due to this image, suffering under precarious working conditions and abuse by their employers. According to a research paper by Professor Park of Konkuk University, 51.9% of 300 Chaoxion living in 8 districts in Yangbian reported to have experienced “discrimination, isolation, and indifference in South Korea” (Park,2). Professor Park attributes the cause of such discrimination to the South Korean economic recession, and notes that Chaoxion people are victimized as an outlet of dissatisfaction felt by South Koreans (Park, 3). Thus, it is hard for Chaoxion people to climb the social ladder, barred by the legal system and widespread negative public opinion. These circumstances force Chaoxion people to make extreme choices, subjecting them to deportation.  In addition, discrimination has been reinforced by false images produced by the popular media which associate them with money laundering, crime, and phishing. Yet, according to the Police Department, crime rates of Chaoxion people were lower than 3.7%, the national average in 2014 (Korean Herald). Just as in General Ford’s “Meeting My Father for the First Time,” in the eyes of Chaoxion people, South Koreans are carefree people who “did not really give a damn about the hopes and dreams” of the their northern neighbors (Ford). As a result, an increasing number of Chaoxion people are returning back to China, voluntarily or forcefully, disappointed by the general social atmosphere.

On the other hand, China has become a different meaning for ethnic Koreans. China has maintained a lenient minority policy, especially towards ethnic Koreans for their contribution in the formation and development of the PRC. Yet, until the Market Reformations under Deng Xiaoping, Chaoxion people had no incentive to assimilate into Chinese culture, as they maintained a relatively high standard of life in comparison to most of mainland China, and a strong ethnic identity reinforced by education. Even after Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, many Chaoxion people had immigrated to South Korea following the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in August 1992. Yet, times have changed. According to the World Bank, China recorded a 14.3 real GDP growth in 1992, and have consistently maintained a 7.6 average growth rate ever since. Strengthened by its economic growth, China invested in the Yanbian region with a 30 billion dollar development project known today as the Greater Tumen Initiative, gaining popularity among the Chaoxion people. As mentioned above, socio-economic circumstances have also drastically changed, and Chaoxion people find it difficult to find jobs in the South Korean mainland. According to Professor Moon of Anyang University, “for Chaoxion people the South Korea in the past was a land of opportunity, yet today they feel that the economic tides have turned in favor of China” (Bae) This attitude is concentrated among the younger generation; Cui Shengchun, former secretary general of Yanbian’s External Cultural Exchanged Center, for example, said that “First, I am a Chinese. I grew up here in Yanbian and I love this place. My mother country is China.” This view is similar to that expressed by Lee Herrick in “What is This Thing Called Family,” where Herrick defines home as family, “the people who will stand up for you” as opposed as “a definition of physical similarity” (Herrick) Likewise, China has become a friendlier domain for younger generations, as they are also more proficient in the Chinese language and well exposed to the culture.

The overarching issue is what constitutes the Chaoxion people’s ethnic identity and how it will be maintained. The ethnic Korean community in China is going through a period of transition as times are changing and long held identities are questioned. The important point is that Chaoxion are not just derivatives of Korean peninsula, but a distinct people with a unique culture; thus, it is imperative for the Chaoxion people to reassess the definition of being “Korean,” and rebuild their community bonds with the help of South Koreans, who have to combat their unjust prejudice towards them. The problem that Chaoxion people face is one that applies to us. What does it mean to be a member of a society? Are our values truly immutable and how is our identity shaped by them? Whether the Chaoxion emerge stronger or dissipate in the flow of history is a choice; the later can be averted

 

<References>

Bae, Woohan. “8 million Domestic Chaoxion people… Foreigners who are not foreigners.” http://www.hankookilbo.com/v/af60b41d727d44aea8a757b5b655f0bf. Hankuk ilbo, n.d. Web. 17 June 2016.

“Chaoxian (Korean) Nationality.” China Korean Nationality: History, Religion, Economy. TravelChinaGuide, n.d. Web. 16 June 2016.

Denney, Steven. “How Beijing Turned Koreans Into Chinese.” The Diplomat. N.p., 9 June 2016. Web. 16 June 2016.

Gu, Minjung. “[Still foreigners, Chaoxion people ②] “Giving up job opportunities in Korea”…2nd Generations heading back to china.”Herald News. N.p., 19 May 2016. Web.

Si, Joong Kim. The Economic Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in China (n.d.): n. pag. Piie.com. Institution for International Economics. Web. 17 June 2016.

Volodzko, David. “China’s Koreans, Part I: A Brief History.” The Diplomat. N.p., 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 June 2016.

 

Written by Han Sung Lim

Refuge for Freedom and Respect for Democracy

In the recent defection of an elite North Korean politician, Tae Young Ho, to South Korea, there is a dearth of guarantee that the North Korean government to remain stable. Minister Tae of North Korean Embassy in London seeking asylum has already been a pronounced fact among his few acquaintances. When minister Tae met BBC correspondent in Seoul, he had asked about the life in Seoul, South Korea, exposing his interest towards moving to a third country. Although his term was about to end this summer and was planning to go back to North Korea, he prioritized the education of his children and his desire towards freedom and democracy. His decision sets its origin on the great economic burden on himself and his family.

According to a research paper “Commentary on North Korean Study” by Korea’s National Intelligence Service, it has been shown that North Korean diplomats are going through a hard time, by being paid between 700 and 800 US dollars for a monthly salary. Despite this monthly pay, expediency fund or monetary support for diplomats and their families other than official salary do not exist. This would be the fundamental reason of North Korean elites in a foreign country withdrawing North Korean nationality.

Not only Minister Tae, but three more North Korean citizens have escaped the country in the beginning of 2016. This defection is itself a reflection of the terrified North Korea, where the one and only tyrant has an ultimate power and control over the rest of the country. Defection of North Koreans, however, is not limited to aristocratic people, but rather is dissolving into the public.

The North is once again facing economic challenges like it did 20 years ago. The country consistently marked a minus value for the growth rate and this rate plunged, especiallly in the food production statistics and agriculture. Moreover, the trade sanctions is slowly penetrating the lives of civilians. Along with this, the value of mineral resources started declining sharply, and therefore was not able to export enough to earn a living for the country.

The profiles of defectors began diversifying in 2010 as it ranged from diplomats and soldiers to artists and athletes. Although North Korea regards these refugees as notorious criminals, desire of these people are not evading the pathway to freedom. A few refugees actively take part in a joint panel to share their journey in search of mental and physical freedom. In addition to the refugees’ effort to seek their own freedom, the South Korean government is consistently striving to cooperate with those refugees.

There are quite a plenty of non-profit organizations willing to achieve, step by step, liberty in North Korea. LiNK, or Liberty in North Korea, is a well known NGO that rescues North Korean refugees without cost or condition by steadily garnering information about escape routes through China and Southeast Asia. These organizations are extremely pivotal to gain freedom among North Koreans and the repressive regimes around the world as a whole since international attention has focused on nuclear weapons and the Kim family when a quarter of children in North Korea are chronically malnourished. It is inevitable that the totalitarian North Korean regime will collapse within a short period of time, but the world’s goal, consisted of nations supporting democracy, is to accelerate that transformation for the innocent people in North Korea.

 

<Reference>

http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/db/read.php?idx=13157

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160726000877

http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/rescue-refugees/

 

Written by DaEun Lee

India, the Rising Power

One of the biggest issues in the last month regarding economics is the Brexit. UK Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid visited India right after the UK citizens “sentenced” UK to exit the EU. Likewise, while we spotlight China to be the next USA, superpowers are paying attention to India, the rising power of Asia.

There are several attractions of India, including their peculiarity in population. Most of the nations are turning to an aging society; India, on the other hand, is expected to maintain their balanced pyramid of an average age of 29 even after 2040, when they drag China down and become the most populous nation. Moreover, India’s workforces are cheap; they are paid only 5.18$ per day while China pays their laborers 22.64$ a day which is even dwindling. This leads to a shortage of professions, for instance, according to an ad, a textile company offers at least 10,000$ for an experienced worker. In fact, one of the largest portions of US’s export to India is their professions. Thanks to these merits, India had the highest GDP growth rate in the world of 7.3% and estimated to be the top three leading countries in the 2030s.

U.S places India high on their goal list to create a so-called “alliance.” Obama considers India to be one of the fastest growing markets and the best choice to stand against China due to India’s territorial advantage. It is why U.S and US companies are eager to enter India. Obama, in fact, promised to invest 4 billion dollars in the following two years at the US-India Summit. To delve into the cases of US companies, most of them focus on the point that the middle class of India can consume more than any other middle classes in the world. Large corporations of US like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook look forward that the 156 million middle class would buy more iPhones, use more internet, deliver more products, and use more social media. In a nutshell, Obama and giant corporations are working together to gain the upper hand in India politically and economically.

If you think in a different way, taking advantage of US would be the best choice for Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. By this measure, India was able to gain “privilege” from US such as in the case of US giving implied allowance for India to import Iran’s oil, and achieve their prerequisite of the Modinomics, which is to draw foreign investments. It’s time for Modinomics, the
Indian Thatcherism, to prove its power by boosting India up to join the leading nations.

 

Intellectual Property Rights in Asia

Economies of both the developing and developed Asian countries are the greatest targets for stronger intellectual property rights, and thus, requires the most significant change. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries – was signed on 4 February 2016, aiming to promote economic growth by lowering trade barriers. As a multilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the TPP confronted several disagreements regarding matters of intellectual property rights, ranging from trademarks to copyrights. Although the partnership had been planned to complete negotiations in 2012, complex issues that arose based on intellectual property rights prolonged every aspect of negotiation, reflecting the conflicting interests of countries driven to protect intellectual property rights.

Besides the TPP, the most recent intellectual property agreement that applies to all TPP members is the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) since the TPP is not in force due to many legislative measures within each member nations.

The fact that Intellectual Property Rights is a rising issue hints at the future of Asia that it will influence every aspect of people’s lives. In fact, the patent lawsuits among multinational corporations have rekindled recently, exemplified by those between Samsung and Huawei, a Chinese IT company. As stated in “Huawei eyes Samsung’s LTE patents,’ both companies are competing over the 4G patent rather than asking for cash compensation. Although the majority of these intellectual property right conflicts appear between Asian companies, many of the companies file their lawsuits in courts all over the world. According to the article mentioned above, it says, “Samsung is also considering a separate patent lawsuit against Huawei in the U.S. as early as in July, as part of a preemptive measure to secure an upper hand in the planned legal dispute.” Implying further lawsuits in the US, intellectual property rights is a major consideration within the continent.

China, the largest economy in the Pacific Rim, is not involved in the signing the TPP as it claimed that it has been propelling with its initiatives even without transnational agreements. However, experts assert that even with intangible and indirect benefits for China, China will gain in the long term because TPP ensures the protection of patents, trademarks, and copyrights in member nations.

Not only limited to China, but India is also an emerging product market for multinational businesses. As a target market for international pharmaceutical firms, India has been persisting its position on dealing with intellectual property rights regarding drugs and medicines, which gives an answer to the question of intellectual property rights in India. The most controversial copyright law is the evergreening of medical products made by pharmaceutical companies in India. Evergreening of patents refers to the acts of extending the patent by simply altering the shape or composition to extend their high rent-earning intellectual property rights. However, to greatly enhance the accessibility to the public, the Indian government has been thorough and strict about how it treats the issue of evergreening. India’s patent office in Delhi rejected one of the patents that covered the Gilhead Sciences, Inc.’s hepatitis C treatment because new treatments should be able to prove tangible improvement in the function of created medicines. In fact, the future of Indian intellectual property rights is quite bright. Prime Minister Narendri Modi is progressive in this field of further enhancing the quantity and quality of intellectual property rights within the country.

It is inevitable to confront this new era of growing significance of promoting sound intellectual property rights. Alongside these examples, implicit approval from the people and the government will drive nations to take an active part in promoting and protecting intellectual property rights throughout the world. Moreover, as numerous technology companies have entered the business, it is inevitable for businesses and firms to cooperate with their nations to enjoy the merits of intellectual property rights.

 

<Reference>

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160529000263

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/02/04/india-no-longer-the-worst-at-protecting-intellectual-property/

Global Trends and Tasks of Intellectual Property Rights (Inha University Law Research Institute) – <International trends and harmonization on the subject of inventive step / obviousness.non-obviousness>

http://issa.house.gov/?option=com_content&view=article&id=976:issa-releases-the-trans-pacific-partnership-intellectual-property-rights-chapter-on-keepthewebopencom&catid=63:2011-press-releases

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/03/massive-coalition-japanese-organizations-campaign-against-tpp-copyright-provisions

http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njtip/vol9/iss7/7/

photo: AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbkAAAAJDEzNTQzZjM4LTBiZDYtNDNmMi04MGI3LTJjZGE1YzExNzg0OQ.jpg

Written by 이다은