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Full Book | Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies 2020

At the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), we foster connections to advance United States-Republic of Korea ties. Through bringing together people with an interest in topics of importance to this relationship, KEI works to further mutual understanding between our two countries. As the world copes with the ongoing pandemic and its economic fallout, the sharing of ideas is of even greater importance. Our 2020 Academic Symposium, through which we endeavor to bridge the academic and policy communities, contributes to understanding crucial questions at a key time in the Asia-Pacific.

The International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii scheduled for March 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; we were disappointed not to have the papers presented by their authors in the panels organized for that gathering, but we are doubly pleased to provide these excellent contributions in this volume. We missed engaging with and learning from the thousands of international affairs scholars from around the world who normally gather for the ISA event each year, and we look forward to resuming our participation with the 2021 conference in Las Vegas.

Marking nine years of collaboration, KEI again turned to the skills and insights of Dr. Gilbert Rozman, the emeritus Musgrave Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, to serve as the Editor-in-Chief for this Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies volume and as an advisor to KEI’s programs at the ISA conference. Dr. Rozman has again played a key role in bringing together an excellent group of scholars and practitioners.

The experts in this volume have thoughtfully addressed themes that are pervasive throughout Asia and are timely for the U.S.-Korea alliance. With the future of Northeast Asia in flux, political leaders are hoping to transform their respective visions into the path forward for the region. Authors in the first section analyze the frameworks of U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discern the currents underlying geopolitical developments in the region. The second section examines the role of national identity in key bilateral Indo-Pacific relationships where geopolitical fault lines have become clearer. Chapters in this section cover the India-China, U.S.-China, South Korea-China, and South Korea-Japan dyads. The final section provides insights into how several of China’s neighbors and the United States are responding to its economic rise, which, of course, are also guided by strategic concerns. Considering how COVID-19 has exacerbated the rivalry between Washington and Beijing as well as the influence this relationship carries in shaping the future of the region, the contributions here are particularly relevant and timely.

Whether our connection with you is new or continuing, we hope you enjoy and find useful the 31st edition of the Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies volume.

Ambassador (ret.) Kathleen Stephens
President and CEO, Korea Economic Institute of America
June 2020

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