Episode 59: Is South Korean Foreign Policy Going Global?

As we explore the evolving nature of South Korean foreign and security policies, we ask whether the country is emerging as a more significant international actor.

South Korea’s foreign and security policies have traditionally been defined by regional interests and, above all, the unresolved conflict with North Korea. However, in recent years, South Korea has expanded its foreign policy horizons. In 2022, it adopted its own Indo-Pacific Strategy. Seoul has also backed sanctions against Russia in support of Ukraine’s independence. In addition, it has actively supported the G7’s coordination of the response to the war, and the South Korean president has attended recent NATO summits.

This new foreign policy direction is divisive domestically. In this episode, host Neil Melvin asks Professor Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Head of the Department of European and International Studies and Professor of International Relations at King’s College London, about the nature of South Korea as a foreign policy actor. How should Seoul seek to position itself in the rising confrontation between the US and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other?

The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.


Dr Neil Melvin

Director, International Security

International Security

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