A Master’s candidate at the Graduate School of International Studies Yonsei University, Hyo Won Shin currently focuses on the studies of International Security and Policy. Having spent 13 years of her childhood in Yangon, Myanmar, she has always been interested in the field of security and policy. Observing the political transition of Myanmar in 2011 from a military dictatorship to a civilian led government, she started taking interest in democratic transitions of pariah states in Asia. She, taking this experience as starting point, continued her passion and experience in her interest fields by interning at the International Committee of Red Cross, Yangon in 2008 as a communications officer and has most recently worked at NK News as a staff reporter. Hyo Won Shin will continue her research and studies focused on democratization of North Korea at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC starting in September 2014.

Project Summary

This study examines whether the influence of China on Myanmar, via bilateral economic cooperation, could have the same effect on DPRK for political reform. The research hypothesizes that as the level of political symmetry between China and DPRK decreases, due to increasing unequal bipartisan economic cooperation, the level of DPRK’s desire for political and economic independence through a political reform will increase. Previous studies done on Myanmar argue China’s asymmetrical leverage over Myanmar was the most negative incentive in triggering its political reform. Taking Myanmar as a model for DPRK’s future democratization, we will employ a comparative model to evaluate whether the same factors will trigger a political reform in DPRK. Using data from government institutions such as Reunification Ministry and Hyundai Research Institute, along with news sources like BBC, Reuters and the Independent, we will explore the role of Chinese economic influence, and how it had an adverse effect in the relations between China and DPRK.