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Title: Looking at History or Seeking Partnership: South Korean Foreign Policy Toward Japan 1998-2019
Authors: Koo, Judy
Advisors: Ikenberry, G.
Department: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Certificate Program: East Asian Studies Program
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: The Western theories of international relations would suggest that Japan and Korea would be close partners given their shared value in democracy, economic ties through trade, and the security benefits of having common threats as well as mutual allies. However, they have frequent disputes due to the legacy of the Japanese colonization of Korea. As previous work concentrates on fewer factors, shorter periods, or older time frame, not much work investigates multiple factors over an extensive time frame in recent years. This thesis addresses this gap, focusing on the Korean side of the puzzle, and answers the question: Why does Korean foreign policy fluctuate between addressing the historical issues and seeking partnership from 1998 to 2019? This thesis involves a series of case studies over different phases of the Korean foreign policy toward Japan, investigating five variables (Japanese foreign policy, Korean domestic sentiment, ROK-Japan trade, North Korean threat, and ROK-US-Japan trilateral alliance) in each phase that the foreign policy focuses on either the history issues or establishing partnership. Across the phases, reciprocity formed a cycle of either conflict or cooperation. In historyoriented phases, the Korean domestic public urged the foreign policy to confront Japan on the historical issues. At other times, the South Korean foreign policy pursued a partnership with Japan as the ROK-US-Japan trilateral alliance sought to contain the North Korean threat. Trade demonstrated little influence on the foreign policy. Overall, the fluctuation between conflict and cooperation in the South Korean foreign policy towards Japan came from tension between the domestic demands and the international security incentives, suggesting that commitment to partnership cannot happen without satisfying the domestic desire to resolve the historical issues
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2021

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