Shaping South Korea’s middle-power future

Shaping South Korea’s middle-power future

East Asia Forum·2020-05-27 08:00

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Author: Leif-Eric Easley, Ewha Womans University

At the 2020 World Health Assembly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in shared his country’s success fighting COVID-19 based on democratic institutions, science and technology. He has also pledged Seoul will become a world leader in human security cooperation. This reflects South Korea’s national identity as a rising middle power in Asia, in stark contrast to its colonised and war-ravaged past. Middle-power goals, such as strengthening diplomatic networks that implement multilateralism, are now a yardstick for South Korea’s foreign policy performance. If Seoul falls short, addressing the North Korea challenge and defending a rules-based order in Asia will be ever more difficult.

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