Dr. Jang, EDR’s President, presented his paper “Human-Centric National Security: South Korea’s Security Relations with North Korea” on April 4th 2018 at the ISA(International Studies Association)’s Annual Convention in San Francisco.
The Abstract is as follows:
When the Cold War ended, the international community had high hopes for global peace and security. However, such optimism has been shaken by a series of grave crises, including terrorism, ethnic cleansing, epidemics, and nuclear crises. These new threats are mostly human security threats that pose national security risks even to strong states. Thus, the demand for human security by security consumers – i.e., citizens – has skyrocketed, while national security institutions’ supply of human security has not satisfied this demand, largely due to the traditional orientation of national security towards “regime-centric security.” Although the concept of “human security” developed by the United Nations provides a useful starting point, current definitions of human security have serious limitations that have kept human security out of mainstream discussions about strong states’ national security.
This separation is both illogical and impractical, because not only has the public demand for human security increased, but the potential role of the public in security processes has also grown. Recognizing these new realities, this paper reconsiders both human security and national security, bringing the “human” back into the study of national security while also incorporating the state as a critical institution for human security. The result of this integration of national security and human security is a new framework, “human-centric national security,” with three distinct dimensions: security of humans, for humans, and by humans. Furthermore, to apply this new analytic framework to the real world, this paper reviews the national security policies of South Korea vis-à-vis North Korea for the period 1990-2017. Using thisnew framework, this paper examines the usefulness of the concept of human security as a way out of the strategic dilemma facing South Korea: whether North Korea should be defined primarily as an enemy to kill or a brother to “hug.” This paper shows that “human security,” if reframed as “human-centric national security,” can be fundamentally integrated into national security policies and can thus contribute to a strong state’s national security and to international peace, facilitate more coherent active engagement policies, and produce better security outputs.