I am a political economist specializing in U.S. foreign economic policymaking on export-oriented countries of Northeast Asia – China, Japan and South Korea. I work on trade, energy, and tech conflicts with a broader range of regional focuses not just on the U.S. and East Asia, but also Europe and the Middle East. I also conduct policy-oriented research on the two Koreas. My grand theme of research is why countries fight and how, using what. I study why countries have different policy outcomes by analyzing governance structures – domestic institutions, leaderships, and bureaucracies that shape the policy formation process.

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I am currently an East Asia Voices Initiative (EAVI) Fellow of the East Asia National Resource Center at the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University (GWU) for the 2020-2021 academic year. GWU is under operation remotely due to COVID-19, and I am conducting my research from Seoul, South Korea. At GW EANRC, I am pursuing the publication of my first book and launch of my second book project, while proceeding with my standalone project on COVID-19 and tech conflicts. I am also working on national AI strategies and data governance with Professor Susan Aaronson, who heads the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub at GWU.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, I have been awarded the Fung Global Fellowship (Early-Career Scholar Track) at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University for my research proposal, ‘Governing a Pandemic with Data on the Contactless Path to AI’. Under the fellowship theme, ‘Sustainable Futures,’ I will conduct research from Seoul in Fall 2021, and relocate to Princeton if/when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in Spring 2022. The project is in line with the series of articles I have been working on in response to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus under the project COVID-19. The project centers on the questions of a social contract on conditional AI-oriented surveillance, patents on health related technology, and bureaucratic governance in governing a pandemic – with comparative angles on South Korea, Europe and the United States. 

I am a recipient of the Next Generation Researcher Grant of the National Research Foundation of Korea for my first book manuscript, TRADE WARS & CURRENCY CONFLICT: China, South Korea and Japan’s Responses to U.S. Pressures since the Global Financial Crisis, currently under review by two university presses. Using a framework of institutional variance, my book manuscript attempts to answer why the three countries have not acted the same upon encountering U.S. protectionism, and provides a mechanism for predicting policy moves. The book project is in progress under the Academic Book Publication Program at the Research Information Service of the National Library of Korea, where I also serve as member of the foreign reserves acquisition recommendation committee. In summer 2019, I took part in drafting a commissioned report for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea on the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. In the first half of 2021, I moderated a closed seminar series on energy and climate change in relation to trade policy on behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul under a U.S. Department of State research grant.

My second book project, EUROPE’s CHALLENGES & RESPONSES: Between Faustian Bargains with China and U.S. Pressures since Brexit, also utilizes the framework of institutional variance but moves the stage to Europe and broadens the scope to pressures from two great powers: China and the U.S. In culmination of my work on trade, energy, and tech wars, the project examines each of the policy responses from Germany, France, Italy and the UK post-Brexit to China and the U.S. on specific issues of the aforementioned three policy realms in the era of geoeconomic conflict between the two countries. This project is intended for submission to the European Research Council for the ERC Starting Grant in April 2022 with the anticipated 5-year project timeline of 2023-2028, with the Brussels School of Governance at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) as the host institution. In preparation for the ERC application, I will be working on post-pandemic conflicts in data governance and technology as a 2021-2022 Korea Foundation-Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow.

On July 24, 2020, I officially launched my BookTube Channel, INSIDE TRADE WARS on YouTube to raise public awareness on trade wars. It airs every Friday at 7PM KST. Each episode covers the most pressing trade war issue of the week, and suggests a related book for to deepen our understanding of trade wars, which will be beneficial for the students of the next generation.

(Note: The BookTube production is currently on hold due to the increase of COVID-19 infections in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and the indefinite closure of the National Library of Korea Digital Library from August 14, 2020 – the production will resume when public venues reopen in Seoul.)

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