Bahng Tae-Seop and his colleagues at SERI recently put out another of their quarterly reports on experts’ views of Korean peninsula security. As seen in the summary graph above, the composite index remains flat, though the experts are predicting improvement in the fourth quarter. As we have observed in the past, these forecasts, like most, appear to be remarkably myopic, projecting forward recent trends. As usual, the American experts have the most negative assessment of the current situation (39), the Chinese participants the most positive evaluations (47).
The report observes that for the first time since its inception in 2005, none of the sub-indices of bilateral relations exceed 60, and South Korea-Japan relations hit an all-time low of 26. The China-Japan index is scarcely higher at 28. Both are below the index of voluntary nuclear dismantlement (29) which is really saying something.
The experts see things looking up for North Korea, though. After having hit a trough following the February missile launch, relations with China and Russia have improved considerably, and the index of internal stability (47) is on the rise as well.