The Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) has published its “Forecast 2019,” which consists of five chapters -- an overview of the international political and economic landscapes; the situation on the Korean Peninsula; the situation in Northeast Asia; situations in major regions of the world; and global issues and governance.
Regarding the international order, the institute forecast that the world will likely see a growing tide of the “my country first” position and authoritarianism as well as a sharper geopolitical competition.
In 2019, the international community will see, in sync with the rise of “identity politics,” national centralism strengthen; nationalism articulated; and authoritarianism spread, all of which could undermine the foundation of liberalism.
Amid the ongoing erosion of liberal international order, the so-called “tribalism,” a kind of collectivism based on the possession of ethnic, religious, sectarian, tribal and various other types of identities, could rise along with “exclusionary populism” as a way to counter it.
The institute says “my country first” policy could be implemented more vigorously in East Asia in 2019, with major countries, especially the United States and China, continuously and increasingly embroiled in geopolitical conflicts and competitions.
In particular, the Trump administration, which seeks to scale back its engagement in the Middle East and Europe, will likely place its top priority on its strategy toward Asia, and China is expected to counter such U.S. moves.
Countries in East Asia would seek to implement diplomacy in a way that would spare them from the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, according to the IFANS forecast.
On the Korean Peninsula, the institute says negotiation efforts will continue at a time when the denuclearization and peace process has reached a turning point.
According to the institute, the Pyongyang government, which has achieved political stability among its power elites, will face in 2019 the challenges of winning over the people and of mustering resources necessary for continued development through its main, large-scale projects, including those designed for construction of cities and other forms of infrastructure.
People of the DPRK want to reap fruit from development, but with the past modus operandi of the regime still in place, innovative changes are not expected to happen in North Korea’s economic condition until remarkable denuclearization steps are taken and sanctions against the DPRK are lifted in exchange for those steps.
Summit-level efforts are expected to continue in 2019 to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, with the United States and the DPRK going through temporary stages of a deadlock and a tug-of-war over denuclearization steps and corresponding measures.
However, as the Republic of Korea, the United States and the DPRK all have motivations for and willingness toward negotiations, negotiations on denuclearization are expected to move continuously forward, the institute forecasts.