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South Korea's mismatched diplomacy in Asia: middle power identity, interests, and foreign policy

Title
South Korea's mismatched diplomacy in Asia: middle power identity, interests, and foreign policy
Authors
Easley, Leif-EricPark, Kyuri
Ewha Authors
Leif Eric Easley
SCOPUS Author ID
Leif Eric Easleyscopus
Issue Date
2018
Journal Title
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
ISSN
1384-5748JCR Link1740-3898JCR Link
Citation
vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 242 - 263
Keywords
Middle power diplomacy and strategyKorea, China and JapanNational identity and interestsAsia regional politics and securityGlobal governance
Publisher
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN LTD
Indexed
SSCI; SCOPUS WOS scopus
Abstract
Middle power identity and interests claimed by South Korean leaders predict a foreign policy of multilateralism, institution building, and contributions to global public goods. South Korea is indeed active in global governance, but its regional diplomacy for much of the Park Geun-hye administration defied middle power expectations. In recent years, Seoul appeared to apply a strategy of isolating and pressuring Tokyo, while behaving like a smaller power showing deference to Beijing. Existing literature offers several explanations for failures to implement middle power diplomacy: historical memory impediments (e.g., Japan), budgetary constraints (e.g., Canada and Australia), stalled regionalization (Brazil and Turkey), and inadequate economic development (India and Indonesia). Finding these explanations insufficient for the South Korean case, this article shows how anti-Japan identity and Korean unification interests at times overwhelmed South Korean middle power identity and interests, respectively. The article offers implications for the growing category of states considered middle powers and concludes with policy recommendations for how Seoul can adjust its mismatched diplomacy to serve as a constructive middle power in Asia.
DOI
10.1057/s41311-017-0073-5
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스크랜튼대학 > 국제학부 > Journal papers
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