Exploring Convergence between the New Southern Policy and U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy: From Korea's Perspective

9 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

See all articles by Ina Choi

Ina Choi

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Sungil Kwak

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Jaewan Cheong

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Jung Mi Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Nayoun Park

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Mi Lim Kim

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Jaehyon Lee

ASAN Institute for Policy Studies

Won Deuk Cho

Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security

Date Written: April 8, 2021

Abstract

The growing economic power and geo-strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific have generated active engagement of major powers with the region. Under the New Southern Policy (NSP) unveiled in 2017, Korea has also sought to upgrade its relations with ASEAN and India by boosting economic ties, socio-cultural exchanges and cooperation in the area of peace and security. While an earlier version of the NSP focused on bilateral cooperation with targeted countries, it now looks to collaborate with other players in addressing the needs of ASEAN and India. In particular, as the United States seeks partnerships with its key allies in advancing the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP), there has been growing interest in cooperation between the FOIP and the NSP. Initially, the Korean government took an ambiguous stance toward the FOIP, but agreed to work together with the U.S. by building synergies between the NSP and the FOIP. However, given the strategic nature of the FOIP as a counterbalance to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and attendant concerns about the FOIP in the region, particularly in ASEAN ‒ the key partner of the NSP ‒, close collaboration with the FOIP poses some challenges for the NSP in terms of addressing regional sensitivity to it. Against this backdrop, by exploring how the FOIP is perceived by NSP-targeted countries and clarifying their cooperation needs, this study provides policy recommendations on how the ROK-U.S. partnership should be advanced in the region.

Suggested Citation

Choi, Ina and Kwak, Sungil and Cheong, Jaewan and Lee, Jung Mi and Park, Nayoun and Kim, Mi Lim and Lee, Jaehyon and Cho, Won Deuk, Exploring Convergence between the New Southern Policy and U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy: From Korea's Perspective (April 8, 2021). KIEP Research Paper, World Economy Brief 21-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882284 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3882284

Ina Choi (Contact Author)

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Sungil Kwak

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jaewan Cheong

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jung Mi Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Nayoun Park

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Mi Lim Kim

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jaehyon Lee

ASAN Institute for Policy Studies ( email )

1-176 Shinmunro 2-Ga
Jongno-Gu
Seoul, 110-062
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Won Deuk Cho

Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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