Peace for prosperity? The geopolitics of Trump and the Korean peace process

Authors: Jinsoo Lee*, University of Idaho
Topics: Political Geography, Asia, Regional Geography
Keywords: geopolitical discourse, denuclearization, Trump, spatial fix, island
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8216, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Trump administration's pursuit of a denuclearization agreement with North Korea has raised hopes for a formal peace treaty that ends the decades-long Korean War. This presentation compares the disparate geopolitical discourses that underpin Trump’s North Korea policies in the U.S. with that of South Korea. We find that both countries share an understanding of Trump as a foreign policy neophyte but diverge on its implications. While U.S. discourse focuses on risks to its state security and regional status, South Korean discourse has emphasized the opportunities for North Korea to become a ‘spatial fix’ for the South's slowing economy and increased trade associated with ending South Korea's self-imagined status as an ‘island’ disconnected from the rest of Asia. We interpret these findings by considering the rapidly shifting geopolitical codes of both states as US hegemony wanes in the face of an ascending China.

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