South Korea's economic engagement under Moon Jae-In

 With Choson Exchange visiting a newly built incubator in Vietnam (2016) and learning how incubators train/mentor entrepreneurs. Learn more in our upcoming 2016 annual report!

With Choson Exchange visiting a newly built incubator in Vietnam (2016) and learning how incubators train/mentor entrepreneurs. Learn more in our upcoming 2016 annual report!

As South Korea's May 9 Presidential election approaches, all eyes are on front-runner Moon Jae In. After 10 years of economic pressure on North Korea by South Korea, Moon has pledged a return to proactive economic engagement with the North as part of a broader pressure and engagement unification policy towards the North. Some interesting background on Moon: he is the son of refugees from the North, served in South Korea's special forces, and was part of the unit that marched into the DMZ to cut down a view-blocking tree under risk of North Korean fire in the infamous 1976 axe murder incident.

There are questions on how much Moon can engage, or how soon, given the potential US political backlash. But anyway, here are our colleague Andray's personal views on how a new economic engagement policy under South Korea should look like:

Supporting smaller-scale investments in North Korea by South Korean companies offers a more promising path to achieving greater North-South economic cooperation....Even at the KIC’s peak era, the limitations on its success and spillover effects into the North Korean economy were manifold...

Instead, the new South Korean President could test how serious Kim Jong Un is both about the economy as well as inter-Korean relations not by resurrecting the KIC, but by permitting smaller, market-driven investments in the North by South Korean companies...

South Korea could take a page from Singapore—in particular, the city-state’s International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore). IE Singapore is a government agency that helps local companies find and understand new markets while meeting foreign technical and cultural standards... IE Singapore helps outbound companies navigate tax regimes, supplies market research and helps partner companies with potential partners abroad. It also offers grants for some sectors and markets...

Read more at How to (or Not to) Reboot the Sunshine Policy!