As geopolitical conflicts escalate, such as the US-China conflict and the Russia-Ukraine war, friction arises in various fields such as supply chain, technology, and energy. These frictions can pose a threat to the economic growth and security of a country, so the fields that need to be analyzed from the perspective of economic security are gradually expanding. Therefore, this report introduces various economic security issues in major sectors such as supply chain, technology, energy, and food. It also examines the downside risks to the Korean economy due to the deterioration of stability in the North Korean regime and space. Finally, it suggests ways to respond and cooperate.
Chapter 2 examines economic security issues and cooperation directions in the supply chain sector by analyzing GVC (Global Value Chain) and major countries’ policies for managing supply chain risks. Some of the major economic security issues in the supply chain are △the reorganization of supply chains due to the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts △the deterioration of the domestic industrial base due to increased dependence on the US and China for supply chains △the increased importance of emerging countries such as India, Mexico and Vietnam in the global supply chain. The main findings of the GVC analysis by 2021 show that the roles of the US and China in the global supply chain of major countries are continuously increasing, and that emerging countries such as India, Mexico, Vietnam and Brazil have become more important in the global supply chain. Moreover, as a result of reviewing the supply chain policies of major countries, it was found that they commonly pursued legislation to foster high value-added industries and support investment in core minerals. Therefore, Korea needs to strengthen bilateral consultations with the US and China through regular agreements, while enhancing supply chain connectivity with emerging countries whose importance in the supply chain is gradually increasing. In particular, it is necessary to actively participate in the formation of supply chain solidarity through multilateral/bilateral cooperation in order to prevent the fragmentation of the supply chain due to disputes between the US and China and geopolitical conflicts.
Chapter 3 examines Korea’s countermeasures, focusing on major issues in technology security, an area where interests between countries are sharp in the US-China competition. As major issues in terms of technology security, △the possibility of overheated competition due to the promotion of core technology fields by major countries and its side effects, and △concerns about the decrease of the potential for technological cooperation between countries amid technological hegemony between the US and China are being discussed. Under these issues, the U.S. and China’s policies and measures for fostering and regulating technology are summarized, focusing on the semiconductor and secondary battery industries, which are classified as Korea’s main industries. In particular, the United States is strengthening technological cooperation and control through solidarity, while China is focusing on strengthening government support to foster the domestic industrial ecosystem and promoting technology commercialization through domestic consumption. Therefore, Korea, as a country with manufacturing competitiveness and innovation capabilities, should contribute to the establishment of a multilateral cooperation system based on a technological cooperation network. It should also promote international cooperation on basic research along with preparing policy communication channels with major countries to minimize excessive competition in the core technology field.
In Chapter 4, we examined climate change response and the resulting energy security issues. The main issue in this field is that the international community has a common perception that it must respond to climate change, but there is a lack of coordination and support measures for implementation actions by country. There is also an ongoing discussion about whether energy security, which has become so important because of the Russo-Ukrainian war, should be prioritized over carbon neutrality. In the midst of these discussions, major countries respond by △raising greenhouse gas reduction targets and expanding support for developing countries from developed countries △reducing excessive dependence on overseas energy and accelerating the transition to clean energy △increasing investment in major carbon emission sectors and promoting participation of local governments. In this regard, Korea needs to establish and implement mid-to long-term strategies to support developing countries in responding to climate change and to secure clean energy. It also needs to strengthen multilateral cooperation to respond to discussions on global norms.
Chapter 5 deals with the stability of food security and the securing of domestic agricultural production base, which have emerged as international economic security issues after the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this context, we looked at the countermeasures of China and Japan, which are actively pursuing policies on food supply and demand. China is implementing a subsidy support policy to increase the incentives of farmers to grow food and a minimum purchase price policy for staple foods. However, despite the food supply stabilization policy, China’s dependence on imports is increasing, so it is necessary to continuously monitor related supply and demand conditions. Since 1996, Japan has set targets for self-sufficiency in major food items every five years. The policy goal is to diversify the use of paddy fields and improve farm household income through adjusting rice production and fostering strategic crops (barley, soybean, etc.).
In addition, for major crops that have a gap in production conditions with foreign countries, it supports the difference between selling price and production cost and promotes quality.
Therefore, Korea’s cooperation direction should pursue a strategy to expand the international grain value chain, such as promoting overseas agricultural development and entering the international grain distribution field. As domestic countermeasures, it should also consider improving the domestic grain self-sufficiency rate and expanding grain stockpiles.
In Chapter 6, we examined cyber security, which has recently been increasing in frequency and causing great social losses. The issue in cyber security is that the damage due to the increase in cyber attacks in the field of core industrial technologies, the increase in the number of advanced persistent threats, and the increase in attacks on the IT supply chain that cause large-scale damage is gradually increasing. The countermeasures promoted by major countries are identified as △promoting standardization of ICT information protection △supply chain cybersecurity policy and task force operation △establishing a cross-governmental industrial cybersecurity verification base and △activating cybersecurity legislation. Korea needs to participate in a multilateral consultative body for international legal response to the expanded cyber threat. At the same time, it needs to establish a basic plan for building a foundation for innovation in cyber security at the national level and to create a next-generation security ecosystem for the realization of a safe digital society.
Chapters 7 and 8 dealt with areas that have not yet been presented as major areas of economic security, but which are expected to become increasingly important from the standpoint of Korea. In Chapter 7, we examined the subject of development and property rights issues, focusing on outer space, whose ownership is not yet clear. We also examined the obstacles to space development due to the export control system for non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as major issues. Looking at the space development policy of the United States, which promotes space development the most, we found that in the United States, after NASA, a government agency, has laid the foundation for space development, it is promoting the space industry led by the private sector, excluding the basic and defense sectors. Space development is governed by non-proliferation export control regimes agreed upon by various countries around the world. From the standpoint of Korea, which is still in the early stages of space development, it is judged that intergovernmental agreements will be very important as a basis for smoothly promoting space development in the future. Therefore, Korea must △establish a long-term space economy revival plan considering public-private cooperation measures and incentive structures for private sector participation in space development and △grant property rights and taxes related to space development. In addition, it is necessary to consider government support to △expand the concept of defense and security to space △promote international cooperation related to space development in the private sector and make it the main direction of external cooperation.
Lastly, Chapter 8 analyzed the impact of the North Korean problem that could arise from the ‘new security threat’ on the Korean economy. First of all, we examined the shock that the North Korean economy can receive through the ‘new security threat’ that North Korea faces. We also analyzed North Korea’s response to this. As a result of scenario analysis by North Korea’s response, we understood that there is a possibility that a sudden change may occur because North Korea’s self-sufficient countermeasures against the ‘new security threat’ are limited. Therefore, South Korea needs to induce North Korea to engage in denuclearization negotiations. It also needs to support North Korea to establish COVID-19 quarantine measures from a humanitarian perspective as a way to minimize external effects on the South Korean economy. By synthesizing the main contents of each chapter, we presented the seven principles of economic security, the establishment of a multi-layered multilateral cooperation system, and the direction of cooperation by sector as policy implications. First of all, as the seven principles of economic security, we presented △accurate recognition of economic security issues in each field △establishment of an information system considering Korea’s competitiveness and characteristics △establishment of evaluation indicators and thresholds in each major field and △determination of means for economic security in each field. Next, we presented △optimization of the decision-making system for the use of economic security measures △ensurement of competitiveness through improvement of domestic systems and △pursuit of improvement regarding unfair competition and monopolies occurring abroad. In addition, given that it is difficult to resolve major economic security issues with a single country’s capabilities and policies, we emphasized that Korea should promote a multilateral cooperation system to respond to major economic security issues and actively participate in various cooperation systems. As a result, we judged that Korea will be able to prepare a foundation for international cooperation that can respond to economic security issues that can arise in complex ways and enhance post-resilience by establishing a multi-layered multilateral cooperation system.
We examined the direction of external cooperation in the fields analyzed from Chapters 2 to 8 in order. First, in the supply chain field, from the standpoint of Korea, which is highly dependent on foreign countries, it needs to avoid dichotomous external cooperation even amidst the US-China conflict and promote cooperation that encompasses all stakeholders in the global supply chain by utilizing multilateral and bilateral consultative bodies and alliances. In the technology sector, it needs to avoid excessive competition for subsidies for fostering core technologies between countries through a multilateral cooperation system for technological cooperation. It must prepare safeguards to prevent technology leakage by discussing protection measures for technology transfer between countries. In terms of responding to carbon neutrality, it needs to respond to discussions on global norms by making the most of cooperation with countries with similar positions to Korea or multilateral cooperation frameworks such as climate clubs. In response to the EU’s CBAM, it needs to establish a cooperative system that can be recognized for reporting product embodied emissions, which is being prepared in Korea. To secure stable food, it must plan and promote a food security strategy that links domestic food supply and demand stabilization policy with agricultural cooperation in developing countries from a mid- to long-term perspective. In terms of cyber security, it needs to actively participate in various international practice discussions, such as implementation of trust-building measures between countries, to apply international law in the expanded cyberspace. It also needs to focus on compatibility with international standards when promoting domestic cyber security systems. Korea, which has entered the early stages of space development, should promote international cooperation for basic research that the government needs to carry out. On the other hand, the government needs to play a role as a platform for external cooperation so that the missile technology control system (MTCR) does not act as an obstacle to private companies engaged in space development. Lastly, in order to stably manage the situation on the Korean Peninsula regarding the North Korean issue, South Korea needs to induce North Korea to engage in denuclearization negotiations through consultations with the US and Japan. It also needs to seek humanitarian aid through international cooperation organizations so that North Korea can respond to COVID-19.