1st Edition

North Korea and Economic Integration in East Asia

By Yeongseop Rhee, Patrick Messerlin Copyright 2020
    152 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    150 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Throughout North Korea’s history, it has regarded external relations with suspicion and as a potential threat to its regime. With North Korea working towards denuclearization, there is now hope for an economic opening. This book examines the external economic strategies that North Korea may consider for its reforms and development, which are related to the East Asian economic integration process.

    This book emphasizes that considering theoretical factors as well as conditions of the North Korean economy, economic opening and integration should have high priority, anteceding or at least being parallel to economic reforms and transformation. Also, among various alternative strategies for achieving the goal of economic reform and development based on economic opening, the utilization of East Asian regional economic integration framework would be the best option for North Korea, because this framework can provide an opportunity for North Korea to overcome structural problems in its external economic relations and to circumvent political conflicts, thus leading to a smoother rapprochement towards economic opening.

    This book is timely as it shows how a new economic recovery strategy on the Korean Peninsula may be accomplished.

    1. Introduction

    2. Theory of Economic Integration and Transformation

    3. North Korea's Motives and Strategies for External Economic Relations

    4. North Korea's External Economic Relations

    5. Progress of Regional Integration in East Asia

    6. North Korean Trade Policy: Constraints and Options

    7. Regional Financial Cooperation and North Korean Development

    8. Conclusion


    Yeongseop Rhee is Professor at Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea. He was formerly Research Fellow at Korea Development Institute and non-resident Fellow at Brookings Institution. He is also co-author of Asian Monetary Integration: Coping with a New Monetary Order after the Global Crisis (2013) and Overcoming Financial Crises: The Korean Experience (2012).


    Patrick Messerlin is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Sciences Po Paris, and Chairman of European Centre for International Political Economy, Belgium. He is co-author of Potential Benefits of an Australian-EU Free Trade Agreement: Key Issues and Options (2018) and Trade for Development (2014) and author of Measuring the Costs of Protection in Europe: European Commercial Policy in the 2000s (2001).


    'The North Korean economy is changing, but from the nuclear and security standpoints the country remains a problem. In this important book, Rhee and Messerlin show how economic engagement can aid the economic transition and also help with the security challenge. American, European and Asian strategists alike would be well advised to pay close attention to the authors' proposals.' — Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

    'Managing economic reform and gradually opening the economy to foreign trade and investment is a key challenge confronting North Korean policymakers. This book presents a roadmap for doing so, drawing on the experience of other transition countries. It offers valuable, practical guidance on the design of an external economic policy reform strategy, making a compelling case that this should center on integration into the East Asian economy.' — Bernard Hoekman, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

    'I cannot agree more with Rhee’s view that the most imperative for North Korean people is economic development through economic opening. This important book discusses concrete and practical open-door strategies and policies that can lessen the political burden on the North Korean government – the participation in regional economic integration in East Asia.' — Professor Hong Tack CHUN, Dean, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, South Korea