Fulltext download: Asia Insights 05

South Korea’s “New Southern Policy”: Economic Diversification with Strategic and Social Dimensions

Leif-Eric Easley (Associate Professor, International Studies, Ewha Womans University, Korea)

President Moon Jae-in declared the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea)’s “New Southern Policy” (신남방정책) at the Indonesia-Korea Business Forum in Jakarta in November 2017:

“The Korean government will strongly push forward its New Southern Policy to dramatically improve cooperative ties with ASEAN…[achieving] a community for the people that connects people to people and minds to minds; a community of peace that can contribute to peace across Asia; and, lastly, a community of co-existence and co-prosperity where ASEAN countries thrive together with reciprocal economic cooperation.”

The policy’s significance is demonstrated by the attention the Moon administration has shown to strengthening ties with Indo-Pacific neighbors. According to the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the “New Southern Policy”aims to reinforce relations across economic, strategic and social dimensions. At the 19th Korea-ASEAN Summit, Moon announced that one of South Korea’s core diplomatic policies will be to deepen cooperation with Southeast Asia and India. Even at a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, Moon emphasized that South Korea aims for a more “balanced diplomacy,” not by downgrading relations with major powers, but by upgrading relations with Indo-Pacific regional partners….(for fulltext, please download AI-05)

Dr. Leif-Eric Easley is Associate Professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University, Korea. He can be reached via: leifeasley [at] gmail.com

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