S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 37 Number 1/2 (2014)
South Korea’s Middle Power Strategy as a Foreign Strategy
- Chun, Chaesung
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.37 No.2, pp. 45-79
- South Korea; foreign policy; middle power; rebalancing; rise of china; North Korea; non‐proliferation
- In Northeast Asia, the rivalry between the United States and China increasingly define the nature of regional security order. The combination of balance of power logic and the phenomenon of power transition defies the expectation that great power politics will make way for multilateral cooperation, but multilateral institutions are being reshaped to reflect great power politics. The rise of nationalism, composed of many different elements, haunts the region, further complicating security situation. Going through a series of hardships, nations in East Asia preserves a high level of suspicions and fears among themselves, which aggravates security dilemma. On the other hand, global security environments are in great flux. With possible decline of American hegemony, power vacuum takes places in many regions motivating many powers to take risks to accomplish regional ambitions. Rising tensions in Ukraine, the Middle East, and even in East Asia, shows that the hesitance of the United States to intervene with massive military power, specially ground forces, radically changes security landscape in these regions. These changes provide South Korea with opportunities and difficulties. South Korea’s main purpose is to contribute to enhancing systemic stability and flexibility to absorb the impacts of great powers’ rivalry and to pave the way for resilient adaptation to new security surroundings. South Korea has devised and elaborated the concept of middle power diplomacy for the past several years. In the area of security strategy, it is composed of six elements: 1) to help great powers to lessen mutual strategic mistrust; 2) to find out and suggest issue-specific dispute settlement mechanism; 3) to develop multilateral institutions or to actively participate in and further existing institutions; 4) to preemptively import globally established norms to the region to set up the principle on which Northeast Asians can solve the problems; 5) to make a cooperative network among like‐minded middle powers to strengthen their positions vis‐à‐vis great powers; 6) then, finally to be a co‐architect in making and reforming regional security architecture. In what follows, this paper will delve into these points in more detail.