POLS 387: East Asia and International Politics

(2005 Fall Semester)


Prof. Edward Kwon                                                              Northern Illinois University

Office: Zulauf 402                                                              Department of Political Science

Phone: 753-7055                                                                   Class: TUE and TH 12:30-1:45

E-mail: edteaching@yahoo.com                                           Class Room: DU 459                      

Office Hours: Wed 9:00-10:00 am

                       or by appointment                                       



This course will examine international politics in East Asia. Currently the East Asian region is one of the most important arenas in world politics and economy. China has shown rapid economic development and is occupied with the largest portion of global trade. Japan, the world’s second largest economy, is trying to gain a possible new seat on the UN’s security council. South Korea, a member of the OECD countries, demonstrates high performance in both economic development and democratization. On the other hand, North Korea and Taiwan have been a potential threat for the regional security. North Korea’s ongoing ambition for nuclear weapon and Taiwan’s possible declaration of independence from China may bring a serious strain to the security in East Asia. Furthermore, U.S. strategic concerns in the region arouse our academic interest continuously. To understand this region, this course will focus on four broad themes. 


First, we will trace the historical background of international politics in East Asia from two broad time frameworks - Cold War and post-Cold War. We will overview the change and continuity of main actors’ strategic concerns and national interests toward the region. Second, we will focus on major powers (the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and two Koreas) interactions from international relations and international political economic perspectives. Third, we will investigate the dynamics of rapid economic growth (East Asian economic development model) and regional trade cooperation of the region. We will critically evaluate the myths of the “East Asian Miracle” from the typical developmental state cases of three countries (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) in the context of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Many benefits and costs of the model will be compared with neoliberalism. Lastly, we will examine East Asian Security and current hot issues in East Asia, such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Japanese history textbook distortion, and the devaluation of Chinese currency.





1) Attendance and Class Discussion (20%)

Students are expected to attend all classes, so absences without pre-notification to the instructor will affect the course grade adversely. Students should read the assigned readings before class meetings and prepare for class discussion. Contributions to the class discussion including prepared comments and energetic participation will be considered in your grade.

2) Mid-term and Final Examination (50%)

Two in-class examinations will be administered during the semester to test students’ understanding of key concepts and contents covered in assigned materials. The questions in these exams will be a combination of short answers, essay questions, and correct answer selection.


3) Research Paper (20%)

A research paper of medium length (approximately 10 pages, typewritten and double-spaced) will be required. Students should use more than seven academic sources (academic journal articles and books). The topic should be taken from one of the issues and on empirical case studies that we have studied and discussed in the class. An outline for the paper should be submitted before the midterm exam and approved by the instructor.


4) Group Research Project (10%)

The purpose of the group research project is to familiarize students with the political and economic systems, and cultural, historical, and contemporary issues on six East Asian countries: China, Taiwan, Russia/ former Soviet Union, South Korea, North Korea, and Japan. Students will work in groups to prepare a report on each of these countries. From time to time, the leader and other group members should report their work in progress to the instructor and other students, as a way of sharing details on important current issues.


* Resource:

- The CIA, World Fact Book  <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/>

- Newspaper: The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, ….






* Michael B. Yahuda, The Intentional Politics of the Asia Pacific: Since 1945, 2nd ed. (New York: Taylor & Francis Inc., 2004). 



Samuel S. Kim, ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).



Students with Disabilities

“Under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructor. It is important that CAAR and instructor be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.” 


Undergraduate Writing Award

“The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science major or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.” 




Course Schedule and Reading Assignments



I. Historical Background and Theoretical Framework


Week 1 (Aug 23): Course Introduction  


- Aug 25: Northeast Asia in the Global and Regional Stage

* Samuel S. Kim, “Rationalization and Regionalism in East Asia,” Journal of East Asian Studies 4 (2004).

* Kim, “Northeast Asia in the Local-Regional-Global Nexus: Multiple Challenges and Contending Explanations,” The IR of NEA, chap 1. 


Week 2 (Aug 30, Sep 1): The Cold War Period in East Asia

* Yahuda, Chap.1: The impact of Cold War

* Kenneth B. Pyle, “Regionalism in Asia: Past and Future,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 16, no.1 (April 2003).



 ** Group Research Project: Country Report



Week 3 (Sep 6, 8): The post-Cold War Period in East Asia

* Yahuda, Chap. 8, 9: The New Structure of International Relations 

                   The United States: From the End of the Cold War to the War on Terrorism

* Haruhiro Fukui et al., “The role of the United states in Post-Cold War East Asian security affairs,” Journal of Asian & African Studies 33, no.1 (Feb 98).




II. Major Powers in East Asia


Week 4 (Sep 13, 15):  The United States

* Yahuda, Chap.4: The United States and Asia-Pacific

* Kent E. Calder, “U.S. Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia,” Kim, Chap. 7.



Research Paper Proposal Due: Sep. 15 (1~2 page)

1.      Your paper topic

2.      Research questions

3.      Brief summary of your argument

  4.   References



Week 5 (Sep 20, 22): China

* Yahuda, Chap. 6: China and Asia-Pacific

* Xia Liping, “China: a Responsible Great Power,” Journal of Contemporary China 10, no. 26 (Feb 2001).

* Alastair Lain Johnston, “China’s International relations: The Political and Security Dimensions,” Kim, chap. 2.


Week 6 (Sep 27, 29): Japan                          

* Yahuda, Chap. 7: Japan and Asia-Pacific

* Paul Midford, “Japan’s leadership role in East Asian security multilateralism: the Nakayama proposal and the logic of reassurance,” Pacific Review 13, no. 3 (Aug 2000).

* William W. Grimes, “Japan’s International relations: The Economic dimension,” Kim, chap. 5.


Week 7 (Oct 4, 6): Russia/ Former Soviet Union

* Yahuda, Chap. 5. Soviet Union/Russia and the Asia-Pacific

* Gilbert Rozman, “Russian Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia,” Kim, chap. 6.



** Mid Examination – Oct. 11


Week 8 and 9 (Oct 13, 18, 20):  Divided Countries (South and North Korea, and Taiwan)


* Chung-in Moon and Taehwan Kim, “South Korea’s International Relations: Challenges to developmental Realism?,” Kim, Chap. 8.

* C.S. Eliot Kang, “North Korea’s International Relations: The Successful Failure?,” Kim, chap. 9.

* Lynn T. White III, “Taiwan’s External relations: Identity versus Security,” Kim, chap. 10.




III.  Political Economy of East Asian Countries


Week 10 (Oct 25, 27): East Asian Developmental Model

- Developmental State: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

- The Essence of the East Asian Miracle: Rapid Growth and Equity 


** Robert Wade, Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1990).

** Peter Evans, Embedded Autonomy: State and Industrial Transformation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995).

** The World Bank, The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).  


Week 11 (Nov. 1, 3): Road to Crisis and Recovery

- The Myth of Asia’s Miracle

- Dragons in Distress

- Asian Financial Crisis

- Recovery, Lesson, and Governance 

** Paul Krugman, “The Myth of Asia’s Miracle,” Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 1994).

** Stephen Haggard, The Political Economy of the Asian Financial Crisis (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2000).

** T.J. Pempel, ed., The Politics of the Asian Economic Crisis (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1999). 

** Jomo K.S., ed., Tigers in Trouble: Financial Governance, Liberalisation and Crises in East Asia (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1998).  


Week 12 (Nov. 8, 10): Regional Cooperation and Globalization

- Economic Cooperation and Integration

- Emerging East Asian Regionalism?



**Edward Lincoln, East Asian Economic Regionalism (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004).

** Bruce Henry Lambert, “Northeast Asian Dynamism: Ten Top Impediments and Countermeasures,” The European Institute of Japan Studies Working Paper 145 (May 2002).

** Mark Berger, “APEC and Its Enemies: The Failure of Regionalism in the Asia-Pacific,” Third World Quarterly 20, no. 5 (1999).



IV. East Asian Security and Current Issues


Week 13 (Nov. 15, 17): Security in East Asia

- Rising China: Treat or Opportunity?

- The Taiwan Strait and Sino-Japanese Relation

- Japan: Dependent Nationalism

- The Two Koreas: Uneasy Coexistence

- The United Sates and East Asia


** Mel Gurtov and Melvin Gurtov, Pacific Asia?: Prospects for Security and Cooperation in East Asia (New York: Rowman & Littleman Publishers Inc., 2002).

** Thomas J. Christensen, “Posing Problems without Catching Up: China’s Rise and Challenges for U.S. Security Policy,” International Security 25, no. 4 (2001).

** Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels, “Mercantile Realism and Japanese Foreign Policy,” International Security 22, no. 4 (1998).



Week 14 (Nov 29, Dec. 1): North Korea’s Nuclear Weapon Programs 

- The Debate over North Korea

- North Korea’s Security Policy

- Assessing the North Korean Treat

- Six Nation Talks and Hawkish Engagement 


** Victor D. Cha and Dvaid C. Kang, Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2003).

** Victor D. Cha, “Can North Korea be Engaged?,” Survival 46 (2004): 89-107.


Week 15 (Dec 6) : Final Exam





                                                             Thank You.