The Age of Uncertainty: Reflections on Post-COVID-19 World Order and the Future of Korea
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread rapidly around the world since it was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. As of late July 2020, the global number of confirmed cases has surpassed eighteen million, with fatalities reaching 700,000. None of the five oceans or six continents remain free of COVID-19 diagnoses. The pandemic has brought about unprecedented sudden impacts on people’s economic, social and political life. International relations have been equally devastated by the pandemic, precipitating new discourse on world order in the post-COVID-19 era. After having examined five contending scenarios of future world order (walled cities and the new medieval age, Pax American II, Pax Sinica, Pax Universalis, and status quo of asymmetric US- China bipolarity), the article predicts that status quo order is likely to continue in the post-coronavirus era. Fierce hegemonic rivalry between China and US will pose a serious existential dilemma to South Korea. In order to cope with the challenge of the worsening status quo order, South Korea is required to seek a sagacious and resolute diplomacy backed up by a broad national consensus.
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