Vol 23, No 2 (2021): East Asia at the Crossroads of Cooperation and Rivalry at the Regional and International Levels

Articles
East Asia at the Crossroads of Cooperation and Rivalry at the Regional and International Levels: Editorial Introduction
Kuteleva A.V., Shcherbakov D.A.
Abstract

The rise of new powers throughout the 2000s and the 2010s augurs the end of the unipolar system that has persisted since the end of the Cold War. In no region is this transition more compelling than in East Asia. Economic revitalization of this region and a steady redistribution of power related to it is a dynamic process characterized by intense changes in foreign policy strategies, practices, and orientations of China, Korea, and Japan. The proposed special issue seeks to critically assess the emerging developments of China’s, Japan’s, and Korea’s core international perceptions and policies. More specifically, the special issue addresses two complex and interrelated questions. Firstly, how do China, Korea, and Japan adapt to the changing international landscape? Secondly, how do China, Korea, and Japan respond to the challenges inherent to the pursuit of the enhanced international status? The contributions to this special issue aim at scrutinizing China’s cybersovereignty and industrial policy; exploring the strengths and limitations of Korea’s public diplomacy; and examining Japan’s contributions to regionalism. The special issue also discusses Russia’s relations with East Asia and its role in regional politics.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):207-214
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REGIONAL COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION
Geopolitical and Economic Backgrounds for Japan’s Participation in International Associations at the Present Stage
Korneev K.A.
Abstract

Japan is one of the undisputed economic leaders in the Asia-Pacific region, despite the fact that in a number of macroeconomic indicators (for example, in nominal GDP) it gave the primacy to China in the late 2000s. Nevertheless, the positions of Japanese financial and industrial groups in the automotive and shipbuilding sectors, information technology, telecommunications systems, and power equipment manufacturing are still strong in the world markets. Tokyo also feels confident in the international political space - most regional problems are solved with the active participation of Japan. Accordingly, the Japanese government has all the possibilities to conduct a clear and consistent foreign policy with a maximum consideration for its own interests, as well as it has opportunities to attract a wide range of overseas partners to mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of multilateral agreements. However, nowadays in the Asia-Pacific markets, Japanese corporations face increasing competition from Chinese and South Korean companies, which forces Japan to take into account new geopolitical situations and strive to “softly” promote its vision of regional development. The purpose of the study is to analyze Japan’s approaches to participation in current international associations and to assess the overall impact of these approaches on the geopolitical and economic space of the Asia-Pacific region. The research methodology is based on the apparatus of social sciences (comparative analysis, content analysis, economic and statistical analysis, synthesis, historical and logical methods), and is supplemented by a systematic approach to the research topic through the search and interpretation of the appropriate information.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):215-224
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Effects of a Threat and Alliance on International Cooperation: Comparison of Inter-Korean and Turkish-Armenian Railway Projects
Cho Y.
Abstract

The article examines restricting factors in international cooperation, drawing a comparative analysis of two cases on cross-border infrastructure projects: the Gyeongui railway line that connects North and South Korea and the Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi railway line that links Turkey and Armenia. In both cases, states involved strive for the normalization of diplomatic relations and border openness as well as potential economic opportunities and national security. Nevertheless, neither Seoul and Pyongyang nor Ankara and Yerevan succeeded in building a sustainable cooperation framework. While the outcome is the same, independent variables in both cases are different. Firstly, two Koreas have been in a military confrontation for seven decades, whereas Turkey and Armenia never engaged in a direct conflict. Secondly, the configuration of alliances (South Korea and the United States and Turkey and Azerbaijan) weakens the decision-making on the troublesome infrastructure projects. Consequently, alliances are identified as one the key factors that determine the mode of international cooperation.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):225-232
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THE RISE OF CHINA: FOREIGN POLICY AND DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENT
Internationalization of Renminbi as a Function of China’s Foreign Exchange Policy
Chernilevskaya K.E.
Abstract

This article discusses the prospects of the Chinese renminbi (RMB) to expand its sphere of influence and become a full-scale reserve world currency. The methods used in the article are retrospective analysis and graphic analysis. The work is divided into three sections. The first section provides a broad overview of modern reserve currencies. The second part characterizes RMB’s shaping as a reserve currency, as well as inner and outer factors that influence its status. The third section includes information about RMB’s current status and its perspectives for being a reserve currency in the future. The article argues that currently RMB has already become a regional reserve currency in Asia-Pacific. Chinese government continues to make steps towards international expansion of RMB, yet these steps cannot make RMB one of the leading world currencies together with USD and EUR in the nearest decade.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):233-242
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Industrial Policy in the Electric Power Sector as Part of China’s Global Leadership Strategy
Epikhina R.A.
Abstract

China’s growing economic power led to the rise of its geopolitical ambitions in the 21st century, and China’s industrial policy has long been an important tool for implementing its global leadership strategy. Yet, how effective is the “visible hand of the state”? This paper examines the positive and negative effects of industrial policy implementation in China’s electricity sector based on the analysis of policy documents, statistics, and academic publications. This study finds that together with energy policy measures industrial policy has been quite successful in promoting R&D activities and production of high-tech power equipment. It gave China an opportunity to increase the share of “clean” energy sources in the power generation mix. Besides, Chinese power companies gradually became global leaders in the electricity sector. At the same time, the implementation of industrial policies has led to the over-expenditure of resources and is characterized by problems of horizontal and vertical coordination between the three main players in the policy-making and implementation system: the central government, local authorities, and large state-owned companies. The development of the electric power sector and related industries is managed by a large group of ministries and departments of the central government. Moreover, the heads of several energy companies have the power and influence equivalent to that of a minister, and there were divergences of priorities of central and local authorities at the regional level.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):243-253
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The Сoncept of Сyber Sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China: Development History and Essence
Mikhalevich E.A.
Abstract

The transformation of cyber sovereignty into an independent concept is a recent phenomenon, and thus its development and distribution is currently underway, which indicates the relevance of studying this topic. Being one of the most influential actors of contemporary international politics, China uses the concept of cyber sovereignty to promote its national interests and is able to shape the rules in the highly volatile field of international cyberspace. The study is based on quantitative and qualitative content analysis of legal acts and concept of China’s cyber sovereignty. The author defines a concept of cyber sovereignty and identifies its place in the system of international law and in the architecture of international information security. China’s concept of cyber sovereignty does not imply the division of a common cyberspace into separate segments but contributes to the creation of a ‘cyber community of a common destiny’, in which states can exercise their rights to govern the Internet on the principles of equality, justice, cooperation, peace and rule of law. It is concluded that this concept can be used as the basis for the formation of an international legal framework that regulates relations between states in the field of cyberspace.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):254-264
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SOFT POWER AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN EAST ASIA
Knowledge Diplomacy as an Instrument of South Korea’s Foreign Policy: Theoretical Aspects and Practical Implementation in the Case of KOICA Scholarship Program
Varpahovskis E.
Abstract

The relevance of this study derives from the limited understanding of the mechanisms of public diplomacy that are activated when scholarship programs for international students are conducted by East Asian countries, particularly South Korea. Moreover, the relevance of the topic is also determined by the scarcity of research on the role of knowledge in public diplomacy mechanisms. The author of this article analyzes South Korea’s international student exchange scholarship program, the KOICA Scholarship Program. This case study analyzes the contents of official documents adopted by the Government of the Republic of Korea, documents and materials published by subordinate organizations that administer scholarship programs for international students, as well as scholarly papers on the topic of knowledge diplomacy and related topics. The novelty element is that the concept of knowledge diplomacy, which is gaining popularity worldwide almost has not been used in the Russophone academia, and the studies on South Korean exchange programs as public diplomacy instruments are also poorly represented. The analysis of official documents has shown that the concept of knowledge in the official Korean interpretation differs from the existing academic interpretations accepted in the West (e.g., Great Britain, the United States). Also, the analysis of the scholarship program showed that it only partly complies with the knowledge diplomacy goals assigned by the Government. In particular, through this scholarship Korea successfully transmits knowledge about Korean history and culture, as well as professional knowledge, while the field of knowledge exchange in the program remains unattained. The author concludes with several practical recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of the scholarship program as a tool for knowledge diplomacy.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):265-278
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The Key Components of South Korea’s Soft Power: Challenges and Trends
Matosian A.E.
Abstract

To this day political processes are less and less impacted by military force. States are increasingly resorting to the use of means of latent influence or relying on cultural attraction. Such phenomena have led to the emergence of soft power in international relations. Many countries, including the Republic of Korea, effectively use soft power tools in implementing policies at various levels. This manuscript seeks to analyze the main soft power components and tools of the Republic of Korea in foreign policy. The paper examines the background of the formation and development of soft power strategies. Many factors have predetermined the growing popularity of Korean culture, a phenomenon subsequently called the Korean Wave (Hallyu). This paper identifies the main elements of the Hallyu, including public diplomacy and South Korea’s cultural economy exporting pop culture, entertainment, music, TV dramas, and movies, and examines how these elements complement each other.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):279-286
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Images of South Korea and Russia in the Mutual Representations of the Student Youth of Both Countries
Sorokina A.A., Katrich A.M., Shilina A.N.
Abstract

The perspectives of modern South Korean youth on Russia and perspectives of Russian youth on South Korea respectively are reconstructed and interpreted in this article. The research was conducted on the basis of analysis of 100 in-depth interviews with Russian and South Korean student youth (50 students in each group), specializing in Russian-Korean relations, intercultural communications and language of the country studied. Natural and geographic factors, historical and cultural associations, the image of the country’s citizens are found to be the main South Korean students’ perspectives on Russia. Economic system, the image of the country’s citizens, historical and cultural features of the country represent the main Russian students’ perspectives on South Korea. In general, mutual images of each country contain many stereotypes which are mediocre for common perception. Such stereotypical thinking and the lack of knowledge about modern socio-economic realities among future specialists in Russian-Korean relations may be a serious obstacle that places under risk effectiveness of further cooperation between the two sides.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):287-304
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SOCIO-CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF KOREA
Historical Policy of the Roh Moo-hyun’s Government in South Korea: Seeking Reconciliation with the Past
Kim N.N.
Abstract

Historical policy was one of the main directions of the domestic policy of the Roh Moo-hyun’s government (2003-2008). The ideological justification of revising the 20th century history of Korea was the idea of building a new Korean society based on the principles of democracy and the rule of civil rights and freedoms. Through the implementation of a new historical policy the Roh Moo-hyun’s government tried to prove that the creation of such a society was impossible without revealing the truth about the historical past, in which the state repeatedly neglected civil rights and committed crimes. Increased attention to issues of restoration of the historical justice is typical for the current government of Moon Jae-in, the political successor of Roh Moo-hyun. Based on the analysis of the governmental documents, legislation this paper reveals the main disagreements between political parties of the Republic of Korea around the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, identifies the key results of its activities.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):305-315
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North Korean Posters as a Mean of Propaganda
Vorobeva A.K., Ragozina S.S.
Abstract

Propaganda is an attempt to spread social and political values to influence people’s thinking, as well as to control and shape their behavior. It is an inseparable tool of the North Korean state. In a totalitarian state where digital information is restricted, the standards of living are low, and access to education is limited, propaganda is a part of almost all everyday routines. Its key function is to support the existing regime and teach citizens to obey it. Drawing on semiotic methodologies, this article examines North Korean propaganda through the prism of visual art and identifies distinctive features of posters as one of the major elements of the complex system of North Korean propaganda. The relevance of this work lies in the permanent interest in the phenomenon of North Korean propaganda in the international arena. The purpose of this work is to study the distinctive features and characteristics of propaganda posters as an integral part of North Korean propaganda. The objectives of this work are a detailed consideration of the propaganda system, its distinctive features, structuring of campaign posters, slogans, and messages with their accompanying translation, embedded within this type of propaganda.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2021;23(2):316-330
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