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2019 Munich Security Conference: Uncertainty in Liberal International Order
2019.03.11  Monday
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Eunsook Chung

Current Issues and Policies 2019-06 (March 11, 2019)


 

2019 Munich Security Conference:
Uncertainty in Liberal International Order

 

 

 

Eunsook Chung
Senior Research Fellow, The Sejong Institute
chunges@sejong.org


On mid-February 2019 - from 15 to 17, from Friday to Sunday the 55th Annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) was held in Munich, Germany for three days.

 

The key theme at the MSC 2019 was “A World of Crisis.” This crisis is an aggregation of several elements: the leadership vacuum in the post-WWII liberal order - previously led by the United States - since President Donald Trump’s inauguration; the emergence of a new power struggle among the U.S., China, and Russia; Europe’s troubles amid such state of affairs, including the lack of strategic autonomy to sufficiently replace the U.S. role to maintain the liberal order; and specifically current European crisis after the Brexit. Against this backdrop, the MSC took up the future of European Union (EU), the intersection between trade and international security, arms control, the great power competition among the United States, China, and Russia, among others as main agendas.
 

From South Korea’s standpoint, since the U.S., China, and Russia are three of the four major powers surrounding the Korean Peninsula, the ongoing superpower competition is not someone else’s business. In addition, it should not regard current security concerns of the EU, which also have maintained the conventional alliance with the U.S., as a distant European affair. Moreover, it is quite notable that many Chinese experts have emerged at multiple panels related to security and economic topics along with American and European participants, signifying the increment of international presence of South Korea’s neighboring country.

 

In any case, there are numerous reasons for us to carefully observe this annual trans-Atlantic international security conference held in February. That is, high-level decision makers from the world’s major powers of this era assemble in Munich, Germany to openly discuss critical agenda related to international security policy and propose possible solutions at this platform.