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Research Question and Methodology
Analysis 1.Define Middle Power
2.South Korea Middle Power Activism
3.South Korea :Emerging Middle Power
Middle Power Countries should be middle position in the terms of military capability, Population, economy. Geographical Location and quality of Diplomacy in order to maintain global world and they offer solution in international problems. South Korean is the first non G7 and non western country who led the G20 leader’s summit in 2010. In the survey of 2018 showed that South Korea has 12th largest GDP among 205 countries. South Korea’s military power also holds top 10 ranked in the world. The world’s ninth-largest trading country with more than 60 percent of its domestic economy dependent on trade ranking it sixth in the world. Though some researchers are believe that its state Affairs has not matched its middle power status. So this paper works with the question how should South Korea’s possession of “middle power” status be evaluated? This Paper answer this question and showed how South Korea can be considered as emerging Middle Power.
South Korea has drawn the attention in many scholars because of their activity in regional and global multilateral diplomacy. South Korean is the first non G7 and non western country who led the G20 leaders summit in 2010.In 2012, South Korea host Nuclear Security Summit, and the 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that is ensuring countries international acceptation and also the capacity to serve in international arena1.
In the survey of 2018 showed that South Korea has 12th largest GDP among 205 countries. South Korea’s military power also holds top 10 ranked in the world. All these statistics ensure clearly that South Korea is one of the leading middle powers in the world. South Korea poses an interesting case in the study of middle power diplomacy although many scholars believe that it is Korean government’s rhetoric as self declared as middle power and its state Affairs has not matched its middle power status. Now the question is raised that South Korea is really middle power or not. So this paper aims to find out the positions of South Korea as a middle Power.2
How should South Korea’s possession of “middle power” status be evaluated?
The study is made on descriptive and analytical design. The required data is acquired from secondary sources are book, journals, newspapers, documents and previous research works as well Used. The nature of data is qualitative.
The Article name is “The Study of South Korea as a global Power “by DR Victor D cha and Marie Dumond agree that South Korea is a successful middle power that is well positioned to maintain its weight in the international system. Lastly they showed South Korea’s limitation as Middle Power. As the world’s ninth-largest trading country with more than 60 percent of its domestic economy dependent on trade ranking it sixth in the world, there is no doubt that South Korea’s powerhouse economy has been fueled largely by its interaction with the global economy. Despite its central role in bilateral, regional, and global FTAs and G20, South Korea has been unable to significantly alter the global momentum toward liberalizing trade globally. Because the leaders of G20 recognized the importance of rejecting protectionism in 2008.Three was a little result of G20 summit in 2010 to solve ongoing uncertainty about a global economic recovery. Another South Korea’s middle power limitations is that United States is the country who shaped the parameters of Korean capabilities in one form or another throughout its existence as sovereign country.3
The Second article name is “South Korea’s Middle-Power Engagement Initiatives: Perspectives from Southeast Asia “by Sarah Teo, Bhubhindar Singh and See Seng Tan described that South Korea Fulfill all the criteria like military capabilities ,economy ,acting as a bridge builders among countries, actively participating in multilateral forums as a middle Power. So it can be said South Korea as a middle power.4
Define Middle Power:
Middle powers are shaped by their foreign policy behavior explained by Cooper, Higgott and Nossal. According to them, there are some characteristics and combination of those characteristics ensure countries middle power capacity .There are considerations of state capacity position in the World order, the normative composition of the middle-power state-societal complex, domestic class interests. And influence of foreign policy-makers. But middle powers do not challenge or threaten the global status que.
Cooper distinguished four approaches to define the middle power.
1. Countries should be middle position in the terms of military capability, Population, economy.
2. Geographical Location
3. They have a quality of Diplomacy and when they take responsibility in order to maintain global world, they should not be selfish and trustworthy in international arena.
4. They posses as a middle powermanship, which means they offer solution in international problems. Ping definition of a middle power in parallel to Cooper’s definitions.5
Middle-power involvement is not limited to military-political conflict and instability. They also mitigate and manage more endemic instability with stronger economic. But middle Power also has its division.6
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South Korean Middle power Activism:
1. In terms of Economic and Politics:
South Korea is 12th in ranking among the world's largest economic powers and 4th in Asia. South Korea is famous for its rise from one of the poorest countries in the world to a developed, high-income country in just one generation. South Korea is 25th freest economy in 2020 index. In 2017 Moon Jae, the president of South Korea has sought to reduce tensions and improve relations with North Korea for economic benefit.7
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2. In terms of Military
South Korean President already announced that South Korea desire to play as a contributor in world Affairs. South Korea announces to Join Multinational peacekeeping mission with Indonesia in 2019.In terms of Military Power South Korea is ranked 6th out of 138 countries in 2020. South Korea manages a large and powerful military force.8
3. In terms of Conflict Resolution: power rivalry within the region and Regional Security: South Korea Actively participates in UN peacekeeping operations to counter-piracy. South Korea is currently participating in active peacekeeping and military operations in international hot spots including Afghanistan, Lebanon, South Sudan, the coast of Somalia and the Kashmir region. In this way, the country is helping to establish and maintain regional security and stability. They were the active Six Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. as a peninsular power wedged between China and Japan, Korea’s choices on regional architecture and community-building could determine the region breaks down along continental-versus-maritime divides or integrates continental China with the democratic maritime states like Japan and the Philippines.9
4. Korea’s ties with ASEAN:
As earlier as said that Middle powers are shaped by their foreign policy behavior. Korea has adopted a foreign policy that helps it to sustain its role in Asian and international affairs and it is ensuring the quality as middle Power. In September 2012, Korea started its relations with ASEAN by opening a diplomatic mission to ASEAN. During the global financial crisis of 20072009, Korea played a role in launching the CMIM and contributing US$19.2 billion to the US$120 billion currency swap fund. Korea’s participation in multilateralism to resolve Asia’s problems, as well as its provision of concrete contributions to Southeast Asia, clearly boosts its middle power status.10
5. Middle Power as Bridge Builders:
South Korea is aiming to initiate the South Korea-China-Japan triangle as a important part for regional cooperation in East Asia. The opening of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat in Seoul in September 2011 symbolizes South Korea’s middle powermanship in the China-Japan rivalry. China, Japan, and South Korea have been using the institution of ASEAN+3 for their summit diplomacy. Forging more direct dialogue through the trilateral ministerial and summit meetings is only possible when both China and Japan recognize South Korea as a responsible stakeholder in regional middle powermanship in the China-Japan rivalry.11
South Korea can be addressed as a emerging Middle Power:
There is a policy debate that South Korea is a middle Power or not. Cooper emphasize on geographical location. In terms of Geographical Location South Korea always maneuvered by its neighboring countries like China, Japan and Russia. No country can easily project its power over others.
Jordaan divides middle powers into two groups one is traditional middle Power and another one is emerging Middle Power. He claimed that emerging middle powers are regionally significant and active in mediating conflicts. South Korea would be a case of an emerging middle power that is regionally active in the early twenty-first century.12 In 24 October 2019 AlJAZEERA published a report that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon agreed on the need to cooperate on North Korea. Though South Korea Ensure all the activities that make Seoul Middle Power but Seoul is late comer and do not matched with traditional Middle Power. So South Korea can be addressed as a emerging Middle Power.13
Though Trade networks can also be a venue for South Korea’s middle power diplomacy. In some aspects Seoul activities matched with Middle Power activities but there are some limitation also to consider them as middle power and South Korea is a late comer to do in middle power activities but they can be consider as emerging middle Power.
1. Dr Cha Vicror D,Dumond Marie ”The Korean Pivot: The Study of South Korea as a Global Power”CSIS(July 2017) https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs- public/publication/170718 Cha KoreanPivot Web.pdf?s1hK4ag5XxBz4IMZnMDuQFwZB2Sff Gt
2. KBS WORLD,” S Korea ranks 12th in GDP rankings for 2018” http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news view.htm'?lange&Seq Code=146477
4. Teo Sarah,Singh Bhubhindar and Tan Seng See ,” South Korea’s Middle-Power Engagement Initiatives: Perspectives from Southeast Asia”(23 November 2013) https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/174582/WP265South%20Korea's%20Power%20Engagement%20In itiatives.pdf
5. Lee Jong Sook,”South Korea as a new Middle Power”(2012 September ) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dKgXQ9QtjxlcdDvGht1uR48GKVgHpr4L/view
6. Jordan Eduard,”The concept of a Middle Powers in International Relations:Distinguising between emerging and traditional Middle Power”(2003) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fbIc7xK4gMiyvvlh7w-Umgxvf96ygKRr/view
8. Yonhapnews Agengy”S.Korea to take part in joint Peacekeeping drills in Indonesia (15 September 2019)
13. Al jazeera “Japan and South Korea agree on need to cooperate on North Korea”(24 October 2019) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/japan-south-korea-agree-cooperate-north- korea-191024042740583.html
1 Dr Cha Vicror D,Dumond Marie "The Korean Pivot: The Study of South Korea as a Global Power"CSIS(July 2017) https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs- public/publication/170718 Cha KoreanPivot Web.pdf?s1hK4ag5XxBz4IMZnMDuQFwZB2SpffGt
2 KBS WORLD," S Korea ranks 12th in GDP rankings for 2018"http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news view.htm?lang=e&Seq Code=146477
4 Teo Sarah,Singh Bhubhindar and Tan Seng See /'South Korea's Middle-Power Engagement Initiatives: Perspectives from Southeast Asia"(23 November 2013)https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/174582/WP265South%20Korea's%20Power%20Engagement%20Init iatives.pdf
5 Lee Jong Sook/'South Korea as a new Middle Power"(2012 September ) https://drive.google.com/file/d/ldKgXQ9QtjxlcdDvGhtluR48GKVgHpr4L/view
6 Jordan Eduard/'The concept of a Middle Powers in International Relations:Distinguising between emerging and traditional Middle Power"(2003)https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fbIc7xK4gMiyvvlh7w-Umgxyf96ygKRr/view
8 Yonhapnews Agengy"S.Korea to take part in joint Peacekeeping drills in Indonesia(15 September 2019)
13 Al jazeera "Japan and South Korea agree on need to cooperate on North Korea"(24 October 2019) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/japan-south-korea-aqree-cooperate-north-korea- 191024042740583.html