South Koreas Diplomacy and the Evolution of Korea-Japan Security Relations, 1965-2015

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Park, Young-June

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Institute for Japanese Studies, Seoul National University
Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.2 No.1, pp. 109-137
Korea-Japan relationsKorea-Japan security cooperationKorea’s national strategyKorea’s diplomacyKorea’s security policy
Since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1965, South Korea and Japan have developed their security relations in diverse ways. Concerning the causes and mechanisms of Korea-Japan security relations, some researchers have focused on the role of the US in the Asia-Pacific region in propelling the two allies towards more friendly or contentious security relations. Other scholars have emphasized the role of Japans diplomacy in Korea-Japan security relations in terms of Japans overall national security policy. This paper illuminates the role of South Koreas national strategy and diplomacy in developing Korea-Japan security relations. The Park Chung-hee, Roh Taewoo, and Kim Dae-jung administrations underscored the importance of Korea-Japan security relations by developing the national strategies of Fatherland Modernization, Nordpolitik, and the so-called Sunshine Policy, respectively. In contrast, the administrations of Kim Young-sam, Roh Moo-hyun, and Lee Myung-bak failed to develop Korea-Japan security relations due to rising nationalist sentiment against Japan during their presidency. This occurred despite initial national strategy orientations that emphasized mutual security cooperation. The incumbent Park Geun-hye administration seemed to set South Korea on a similar path as her predecessors, Lee Myung-bak and Roh Moohyun. Considering these patterns and tendencies, South Koreas security relations with Japan in the near future will be determined by the interaction of its national strategy and national sentiment in the context of a rising China and a provocative North Korea.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소)Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies (SJJS)Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.2 no.1(2016)
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