- South Korea recently announced a ‘New Southern Policy’ to develop its relations with South-East Asia and ASEAN.
- Reasons for the ‘New Southeastern Policy’.
- To manage the challenge of North Korea.
- Lesser focus earlier on Southeast Asia compared to Northeast Asian States like China and Japan.
- Advancement of Seoul by its middle power diplomatic efforts.
- Building an inclusive regional architecture in Asia
- South Korea, as part of this strategy, wants to build stronger ties with ASEAN and India on multiple fronts like economic, bilateral and strategic.
3.Engagement with India
- There is convergence of approach between India and South Korea towards regional issues.
- Both sides are concerned about maritime security in the region.
- The increasing influence of China in South China Sea and India Ocean region is also being watched.
- South Korea sees India as the main partner in expanding their economy. Both sides have agreed to boost bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2030 from $20 billion now.
- South Korea wants to elevate diplomatic ties with India to the level of four other major powers around the Korean Peninsula namely the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.
- South Korea’s approach towards Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
- South Korea favours BRI but accuses China’s unilateral approach and pursues for more open and transparent policy.
- South Korea also warned to countries borrowing from China for big ticket infrastructure projects of possible debt trap later.