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An Entrepreneurial State in Green Transition: Korea’s Energy Security and Canada-ROK Co-operation

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Image credit: Image: Joon Kyu Park / Wikimedia Commons

POLICY PERSPECTIVE

by Sun Ryung Park
November 2023

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This piece is part of series funded by the Korea Foundation. This project aims to highlight Korean security challenges in which Canada can be a valuable partner, and to showcase the work of the next generation of security scholars. To access the full series and listen to the podcast episodes, go to: https://www.cgai.ca/2023_canada_korea_series


Table of Contents


Introduction

Responding to the urgency of combating climate change, many governments have embarked on an unprecedented acceleration towards a low-carbon economy in recent years. Notably, the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the biggest climate spending initiative in U.S. history, earmarks US$369 billion for clean energy investment. Similarly, the European Union Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age signifies a relaxation of prior stringent regulations, facilitating increased government support for investments and manufacturing in the green sector.

The year 2022 witnessed an intensified green tech race spurred by rising energy demand, post-pandemic recovery and energy security disruptions precipitated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Although addressing climate change had been a primary driver of low-carbon transitions until the invasion, governments are now placing greater emphasis on energy security. There are many reasons for this shift: the need to counter inflation, supply chain disruptions and the vulnerability associated with energy resource scarcity.

The Indo-Pacific region has emerged as the focal point of this race to go green. China’s significant subsidies and industrial policies since 2012, aimed at leapfrogging other nations, have catalyzed the global competition. The IRA strategically aims to displace China as the primary supplier of crucial equipment for solar, wind and electric vehicle battery production. Other East Asian nations, including South Korea and Japan, have also entered the race with ambitious green plans, revitalizing old and new tools of industrial policy to hasten innovation and manufacturing in renewable energy. This contest revolves around the creation, production and widespread deployment of green technologies, culminating in a paradigm shift from market fundamentalism to state-driven activism. The imperative to avoid lagging behind has necessitated a more proactive and entrepreneurial governmental role.

Energy security and advancing the low-carbon economy align closely with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. Given South Korea’s heavy dependence on imported energy resources and its exposure to geopolitical risks, energy security has evolved into a vital concern. On May 2023, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on critical mineral supply chains, the clean energy transition and energy security between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Yoon Suk-yeol was a remarkable turning point for further co-operation on energy security.

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South Korea’s Energy Mix and Green Transition Policies

Assessment of South Korea’s Current Energy Mix1

South Korea's energy sector relies heavily on imported energy sources. It has a dominance of fossil fuel (FF) in its energy mix and in its monopolized electricity market. Electricity prices do not follow market mechanisms because the electricity grid operates as an isolated island system. These factors underscore the critical importance of energy security.2

Fossil fuels dominate the energy landscape in South Korea.3 In 2022, the nation’s energy demand reached a peak of 12.71 EJ, constituting 2.1 per cent of global primary energy consumption.4 5 This signifies an average annual growth rate of 0.9 per cent between 2012 and 2022. In terms of energy consumption by fuel type, 83.2 per cent of the country’s total primary energy consumption came from fossil fuels in 2022. Oil accounts for the largest share, comprising 43 per cent of total consumption, followed by coal at 22.6 per cent. In contrast, renewables constitute a mere 4.05 per cent of South Korea’s total primary energy consumption; the figure is the lowest among IEA member countries.6

Consumption of renewable electricity in South Korea has surged, reaching 0.52 EJ in 2022, comprising 1.1 per cent of global renewables consumption. The nation’s annual growth rate between 2012 and 2022 stands at an impressive 26 per cent, surpassing the Asia Pacific average of 20.5 per cent and significantly outpacing global (12.6 per cent) and OECD (nine per cent) growth rates for the same period.

Renewable energy’s contribution to electricity generation is noteworthy, constituting 7.7 per cent of South Korea’s total electricity generation in 2022 – up from 6.6 per cent the previous year. Coal remained the primary source of electricity generation at 33.6 per cent in 2022 (a slight drop from 35.2 per cent in 2021), while natural gas declined to 27.9 per cent (from 29.6 per cent in 2021) partly due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and its consequential increase in gas prices. Nuclear energy retained a share of 28.4 per cent in 2022, a modest increase from 26.3 per cent in 2021.7

Solar and wind technologies are key drivers of renewable power generation in South Korea, contributing 56.6 per cent and seven per cent of the country’s renewable energy output in 2022, respectively.8 The nation’s high reliance on solar power contrasts with the global trend of wind power accounting for 50 per cent of the global renewable energy generation.9 South Korea’s solar installed capacity expanded by 35 per cent between 2012 and 2022.10

Analysis of South Korea’s Energy Transition Policies11

Korea’s renewable policies unfolded in three phases, often coinciding with changes in the country’s leadership. Prior to 2008, energy policy, including renewables, was considered a supplementary tool to support the industrial sector, with limited legislative and governmental initiatives in place. While efforts such as the 2001 Basic Plan for the Promotion of New and Renewable Energy and the introduction of feed-in tariffs aimed to bolster renewable energy generation, either through public sector consumption or corporate incentives,12 their impact remained marginal.

Renewable energy received minimal attention until the Presidential Committee on Green Growth was established in 2009 under Lee Myung-bak’s administration. Lee said “green growth is a new development paradigm not only for combating pollution but also for fostering sustainable growth ...”13 This vision was translated into action through the inception of the first Five-Year Plan for Green Growth (2009–2013) and continued in subsequent five-year plans. The initial National Climate Change Adaptation Plans, established in 2010 and then updated in 2015, underscored the goal of “strengthening industrial competitiveness through climate change opportunities.”

While Park Geun-hye’s administration emphasized green growth less, former president Moon Jae-in rekindled the commitment to the green transition by re-establishing the Presidential Committee on Carbon Neutrality in May 2021. This second phase, spanning 2017 to April 2022, signifies an expanded focus on achieving both sustainability and economic growth, aligning with the objectives articulated in the Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Act for Climate Change.14 Under Moon’s leadership, there was a notable shift in mindset toward green transition, positioning renewables as a national strategy to sustain economic growth and address the pressing climate crisis. This phase required a more proactive government role as an initial investor – not a last resort – and risk-taker.15

The Korean New Deal, introduced in 2020 (KND 1.0) and expanded in 2021 (KND 2.0), represented government’s entrepreneurial role in green transition. The government’s ambitious initiative, comprising the Digital New Deal, Green New Deal and Human New Deal, encapsulated the nation’s commitment to transition to a low-carbon economy by seeking to stimulate markets, encourage private sector engagement and enact substantial fiscal investments.16 It earmarks a total of KRW 220 trillion (increased from KRW 160 trillion in KND 1.0) for investment in critical areas such as renewable energy generation, hydrogen technologies and clean transportation solutions.17 In September 2021, South Korea further solidified its commitment to carbon neutrality by enacting the Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Act for Climate Change. By doing so, Korea became the 14th nation in the world to legally commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.18

The third phase, initiated under Yook’s administration in May 2022, marked another inflection point in Korea’s trajectory. The government’s inclination towards reinstating nuclear power policies and its reduced emphasis on renewables in the 10th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand shows a nuanced shift. The plan outlines a strategic goal of increasing nuclear power’s share of the energy mix to 34.6 per cent by 2036, accompanied by a reduction in renewable energy targets from 30.2 per cent to 21.6 per cent. The Yoon administration acknowledges nuclear energy’s critical role, given the nation’s vulnerability to imported fossil fuels and poor abundance of natural resources.19

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Pressing Challenges in Balancing Energy Security and Climate Goals

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report, Renewables 2022, underscores the irreversible momentum towards a green transition. The global energy crisis, coupled with strong policy impetus, has “turbocharged” a rapid acceleration in renewable power installations.20 Previously, climate change concerns predominantly drove investments in renewables. However, the recent energy security considerations triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have amplified countries’ dedication to embracing renewable adoption. IEA projections suggest that global renewable power capacity will expand by an unprecedented 2,400 GW between 2022 and 2027, a remarkable 30 per cent increase from its previous forecasts. This surge underscores government’s heightened commitment to support and promote renewable energy through robust policy measures.21

Three key factors underpin the ongoing green tech race: the imperative to combat climate change, geopolitical uncertainties arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a resurgence of state activism in the form of industrial policy, primarily provoked by the U.S.-China competition to lead strategic industries, including renewable energy. As a result, the transition to a low-carbon economy extends beyond environmental concerns, encompassing a dynamic green industrial revolution. Nations are now competing for supremacy in future industries, wherein success or failure will shape global economic hierarchies for decades to come.22 The transformative impact of emerging green technologies necessitates proactive government intervention to navigate their high-risk, high-uncertainty nature. Governments, acting as “entrepreneurial” investors of first resort rather than lender of last resort, are poised to drive economic direction.23

South Korea’s energy security is a compelling concern due to its extensive reliance on fossil fuels and limited renewable power generation. In 2022, the country’s energy mix included a 37.2 per cent dependency on oil, with 94.3 per cent of reliance on imported fuels, including oil and natural gas.24 The imperative for energy diversification arises from Korea’s significant vulnerability to supply chain disruptions and the risk associated with its heavy dependence on imported energy. During the Moon administration, this sense of crisis played a pivotal role in promoting renewables with a strong focus on solar technologies.25 However, government initiatives toward renewables also highlight Korea’s vulnerability to China’s supply chain in advancing green technologies, as China dominates most segments of the solar and wind supply chain, as well as critical minerals. For example, in solar manufacturing capacity, China held at least 75 per cent in solar modules and up to 97 per cent of solar modules in 2022.26 Similarly, China leads in extracting and processing clean energy metals for the green revolution, with 58 per cent of lithium, 65 per cent of cobalt and 87 per cent of rare earths.27 Given that Korea is exploring alternatives to mitigate its reliance on China for critical minerals and technology components, energy diversification and strategic collaboration become pivotal.

Korea’s strong commitment to a green transition has been particularly pronounced since the Paris Agreement in 2015–2016. This international treaty on climate change marked a pivotal juncture, leading Korea to establish the Basic Plan for Climate Change Response in 2016.28 This comprehensive strategy aimed to implement the Paris Agreement, setting forth goals to increase renewable supply, enhance energy efficiency and promote green industries through substantial investment in key technologies. In 2017, the Korea Renewable Energy 3020 Plan subsequently laid out ambitious targets, aiming to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s power generation to 20 per cent by 2030.29

While there is a shared development mindset that views green transition as a new growth engine across different presidential administrations, each government has had a slightly different energy portfolio.30 In light of governmental efforts to address the new Paris climate regime, two overarching themes emerged in Moon’s energy portfolio – nuclear phase-out and the promotion of renewables, primarily solar power. Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, nuclear power has been a controversial issue for safety reasons in Korea. The Moon administration promised to close old power plants and suspended new plants under construction. Skepticism remains as nuclear power accounted for 13 per cent of the total primary energy consumption in 2021.31 To meet electricity demands, the government proactively promoted the solar and wind sectors by introducing a mega-spending initiative, KND 1.0 and 2.0, but it resulted in skyrocketing electricity prices and only a slight increase in the nuclear share.32 The Yoon administration tends to see nuclear phase-out as an unrealistic option for Korea.33 The recent budget for nuclear and renewables indicates that the government drastically cut its spending for renewables by 43 per cent from the previous year, while remarkably boosting its nuclear budget by 1,500 per cent. 34

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Enhancing Canada-South Korea Co-operation in Energy Supply Chain

Canada’s abundant critical mineral resources and prominent position in the clean energy sector, such as with hydrogen and natural gas, make the country a pivotal partner for the diversification of South Korea’s energy portfolio and green transition. Canada has established itself as a reliable producer, contributing 3,900 tonnes of cobalt production (2.3 per cent of global production) and holding 2.6 per cent of global reserves.35

In alignment with its Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada is committed to fortifying critical minerals, hydrogen and clean energy sources to reinforce its status as a dependable supplier. The 2022 MOU between the Korea Institute of Energy Research and the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology gave significant momentum to Canada-South Korea co-operation on critical minerals. This collaboration entails research on green technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), batteries and hydrogen, over the next five years. The May 2023 MOU between Trudeau and Yoon further underscores the commitment to collaborate on critical mineral supply chains, clean energy transition and energy security.36 In the same vein, Katrina Marsh, director, bilateral engagement, at Natural Resources Canada, reaffirmed Canada’s role in energy and resource supply at the Canada-ROK Energy Forum.37 The forum, held in June 2023, explored avenues for co-operation, encompassing critical minerals and battery technology for electric vehicles. Canada’s 2023 budget underscores its commitment to a green transition, epitomized by clean technology initiatives like hydrogen and CCUS.38 South Korea’s strengths in hydrogen technology align well with Canada’s investment tax credits, fostering a conducive environment for bilateral technological exchange.

Given that no country is insulated from the risks of climate change and energy security, the need to collaborate has never been higher, according to the IEA report, World Energy Outlook 2023.39 For further collaboration on clean energy, which is characterized by high risks and high uncertainty, an entrepreneurial governmental role must encompass public-private partnerships and act as an initial investor with inter-governmental initiatives to diversify energy sources and foster joint projects, as Canada and South Korea have recently demonstrated. LNG Canada, led by Shell, is due to start operating in the mid-2020s and expects to initially produce 14 million tonnes a year in the first phase, with the potential to double initial production by the end of the decade.40 Korea’s state-owned and operated company, Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), along with other Asian companies in Japan or China, has stakes in the LNG Canada project. Dulles Wang, director for Americas Gas and LNG Research at Wood Mackenzie, suggested that Canada could become a major LNG supplier to Korea in the next 10 years, as 20 to 25 per cent of the long-term contracts in Korea will expire in the next 10 years.41

Another prominent area of Canada-Korea collaboration is batteries and the Korean conglomerates (Chaebols) and North American car manufacturers have planned a joint project. SK On, Ford Motor Co. and cathode producer EcoPro BM will establish a cathode manufacturing facility in Quebec to strengthen a value chain covering key battery materials. The Canadian government has promised to contribute C$644 million in funding. This investment and government support show that conglomerates, with their partners in North America, are committed to leading the way in Korea’s transition to eco-friendly vehicles.

Overall, the strategic collaboration between Canada and South Korea in critical minerals and clean energy technologies marks a transformative partnership with a government at the forefront of the green transition. As both nations navigate the complex landscape of sustainable development and energy security, their shared commitment to innovation and joint initiatives shows that they can be strategic partners.

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Conclusion

South Korea’s energy security imperatives and climate goals have set the stage for an ongoing green tech race, driven by climate concerns, geopolitical uncertainties and renewed state activism. The imperative to excel in emerging green technologies necessitates proactive government intervention, while South Korea’s reliance on fossil fuels underscores the urgency of diversification. In navigating the complexities of energy diversification and green transition, Korea stands at a crossroads, balancing the imperative for renewables against the challenges.

Co-operation between Canada and South Korea is a strategic imperative, with Canada’s critical mineral abundance and expertise in clean energy sectors aligning with South Korea’s energy security goals. Enhanced collaboration offers promising avenues for joint technological innovation and diversification of energy sources. As South Korea navigates the intricate balance between energy security and climate commitments, strategic partnerships emerge as a driving force to achieving these intertwined objectives.

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End Notes

1 The author collected data from the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2023.

2 IEA, Korea 2020 Energy Policy Review. Also, from a personal interview with Dr. Soogil Young, the honorary chairman of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Korea, which took place on September 21, 2023, at Seoul, Korea.

3 In this paper, fossil fuels refer to oil, natural gas and coals.

4 The author collected the data from the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2023.

5 The heavy dependence on fossil fuels occurred in other East Asian countries in 2022: China (81.6 per cent), Japan (84.9 per cent) and Taiwan (91.1 per cent).

6 IEA, Korea 2020 Energy Policy Review. Taiwan has the lowest among advanced industrialized economies (3.26 per cent in 2022) according to the author’s data, but the country is not an IEA member.

7 Data from the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2023.

8 Of the country’s total electricity generation, solar was 4.1 per cent in 2021 and 4.4 per cent in 2022, while wind had a marginal portion (0.5 per cent) in the same periods. Data are from the Energy Institute (2023).

9 Similar to Japan where solar accounts for as much as 67 per cent of its renewable generation.

10 Data from the Energy Institute (2023) also show that other East Asian countries – China (50 per cent) and Japan (28 per cent) – proactively boosted their solar capacity between 2012 and 2022.

11 This section uses a policy database the author created by analyzing the Korean government’s archives. For a detailed discussion, see Park and Tiberghien (2024) at Lewis et al. (forthcoming).

12 IEA, “Basic Plan for the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy,” August 24, 2021, https://www.iea.org/policies/4089-basic-plan-for-the-promotion-of-the-development-use-and-diffusion-of-new-and-renewable-energy; Ibid., “Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy,” September 14, 2020, https://www.iea.org/policies/4090-feed-in-tariff-for-renewable-energy.

13 Author’s interview with Dr. Soogil Young, September 21, 2023, Seoul.

14 Government of the Republic of Korea, “2050 Green Growth Carbon Neutral Committee,“ n.d., https://www.2050cnc.go.kr/base/contents/view?contentsNo=7&menuLevel=2&menuNo=1.

15 Mariana Mazzucato, “The Green Entrepreneurial State,” Social Science Research Network, October 2, 2015; Ibid., Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism, (London: Allen Lane, 2021).

16 Government of the Republic of Korea, “Joint Government Announcement of ‘Korean New Deal 2.0 Promotion Plan,’” July 14, 2021, https://www.moef.go.kr/nw/nes/detailNesDtaView.do;jsessionid=AcCJ1BLY7S38GgZmzg1znfG+.node60?searchBbsId1=MOSFBBS_000000000028&searchNttId1=MOSF_000000000055824&menuNo=4010100.

17 Under KND 2.0, renewable energy generation capacity is targeted at 12.7GW by 2020 and 42.7GW by 2025. Loans and support installation costs for wind and solar, and R&D support for hydrogen technologies. For transport, a total of KRW 20.3 trillion will be invested in electric vehicles with a goal of 430,000 units hitting the road by 2022 and 1.3 million by 2025.

18 Other key measures introduced during this period include the Energy Target Management System (TMS) in 2012, the GHG Reduction Roadmap (2014), the Emission Trading System (2014) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Plans (2010, 2015), alongside the enactment of the Basic Act on Low Carbon Green Growth in 2010.

19 Sun Ryung Park and Charlotte Bull, “South Korea’s Nuclear U-turn Threatens its Green Energy Transition,” East Asia Forum, March 16, 2023, https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2023/03/16/south-koreas-nuclear-u-turn-threatens-its-green-energy-transition/

20 IEA, “Renewable Power’s Growth is Being Turbocharged as Countries Seek to Strengthen Energy Security,” December 6, 2022, https://www.iea.org/news/renewable-power-s-growth-is-being-turbocharged-as-countries-seek-to-strengthen-energy-security.

21 IEA, “Renewables 2022,” December 2022, https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2022

22 Sun Ryung Park and Yves Tiberghien, “The Green Tech Race Is a Story for the Entrepreneurial State,” in The EU-Indo-Pacific Bid: Sailing Through Economic and Security Competition, Filippo Fasulo, ed., 99, DOI:10.14672/55269421.

23 Mazzucato (2015).

24 Government of the Republic of Korea, “Energy Import Dependence,” n.d., https://tips.energy.or.kr/statistics/statistics_view0210.do.

25 The Moon administration’s strong emphasis on renewables and nuclear phase-out was partially driven by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The author’s interview with a senior bureaucrat in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on October 6, 2023, Seoul, Korea.

26 Niccolo Conte, “Visualizing China’s Dominance in the Solar Panel Supply Chain,” Visual Capitalist Forum, August 30, 2022, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-chinas-dominance-in-the-solar-panel-supply-chain/.

27 Bruno Venditti, “Visualizing China’s Dominance in Clean Energy Metals,” Visual Capitalist Forum, January 23, 2022, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/chinas-dominance-in-clean-energy-metals/.

28 The author’s interview with a senior researcher at the country’s government-funded research institute on September 21, 2023, Seoul, Korea.

29 Ministry of Trade, Energy and Industry, “Renewable Energy 3020 Implementation Plan,” Government of the Republic of Korea, 2017, https://policy.nl.go.kr/search/searchDetail.do?rec_key=SH2_PLC20180222815&kwd=.

30 For a detailed discussion on development mindset, see Park and Tiberghien (2024, forthcoming).

31 Data from the Energy Institute (2023). The author’s interview with an economist at a government-funded research institute on September 15, 2023, Seoul, Korea.

32 Lee Ji-hoon, “Let’s Increase the Cost of Purchasing Electricity … Government Increases Nuclear Power Plant Operation,” Hankyung.com, March 16, 2021, https://www.hankyung.com/economy/article/2021031600311.

33 For another discussion on Yoon’s nuclear U-turn, see Park and Bull (2023), https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2023/03/16/south-koreas-nuclear-u-turn-threatens-its-green-energy-transition/.

34 Lee Sang-bok, “Government Increases Nuclear Power Plant Budget By 1,498% and Cuts Renewable Energy By 43%,” E2News, October 10, 2023, http://www.e2news.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=301592.

35 Data from the Energy Institute (2023).

36 Prime Minister of Canada, “Prime Minister Strengthens Ties with the Republic of Korea,” Government of Canada, May 17, 2023, https://www.pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2023/05/17/prime-minister-strengthens-ties-republic-korea.

37 Kotra, “Sketch of the Energy Forum Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Korea-Canada Diplomatic Relations,” June 26, 2023, https://dream.kotra.or.kr/kotranews/cms/news/actionKotraBoardDetail.do?SITE_NO=3&MENU_ID=70&CONTENTS_NO=1&bbsGbn=00&bbsSn=245&pNttSn=203729

38 Department of Finance Canada, “A Made-in-Canada Plan: Affordable Energy, Good Jobs and a Growing Clean Economy,” Government of Canada, March 28, 2023, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2023/03/a-made-in-canada-plan-affordable-energy-good-jobs-and-a-growing-clean-economy.html.

39 IEA, “Executive Summary,” World Energy Outlook 2023, https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2023/executive-summary?utm_campaign=IEA+newsletters&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SendGrid.

40 Ryosuke Hanafusa, “Asian Nations Compete for Access to Canadian LNG,” Nikkei, August 10, 2023, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/Asian-nations-compete-for-access-to-Canadian-LNG.

41 Nelson Bennett, “Korea, Japan Want Canadian LNG – Can Canada Deliver?” BIV, February 15, 2023, https://biv.com/article/2023/02/korea-japan-want-canadian-lng-can-canada-deliver.

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About the Author

Sun Ryung Park is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, a Liu Scholar (2021-2022) at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and an IAR Fellow (2021-2023) at the Centre for Korean Studies, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia. She is also the recipient of the 2023 PAFTAD (Pacific Trade and Development) Fellowship for Young Scholars and the 2024 Taiwan Fellowship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan.

Her research focuses on the intersection between the state and the market in the green energy sector, specifically in East Asia. Sun's scholarly endeavors involve a comparative analysis of the resurgence of state intervention and the revitalization of traditional and innovative tools of industrial policy, driven by the intense competition among states in green technology.

Sun obtained her MA and BA in Political Science and International Relations from Korea University, Seoul, Korea. Prior to commencing her Ph.D. program at UBC, she worked at the East Asia Institute in Seoul and completed an internship at the Korea Society in New York. She is scheduled to continue her research journey as a visiting Ph.D. student at National Chengchi University, Taipei, in the spring of 2024.

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