South Korea’s changing political environment and the impact on its Africa policy
CITATION: Kim, Y. 2016. South Korea’s changing political environment and the impact on its Africa policy. African East Asian Affairs - The China Monitor, 4:126-151, doi:10.7552/0-4-185.
The original publication is available at http://aeaa.journals.ac.za
While political and economic self-interest retains its primacy in South Korea’s foreign policy towards Africa, recent domestic constraints have negatively affected its Africa policy. This article sheds light on the subtle differences between Roh and Lee’s stances towards Africa on the one hand and that of Park on the other hand; whilst further looking at the origin of those differences by examining the political environment of the current administration. The deterioration of inter-Korean relations has led to South Korea’s returning to a foreign policy in which security is primary. Simultaneously, resource diplomacy has faced growing criticism from the public and has lost its legitimacy as a basis for engagement with the continent. These two processes have had an impact on the re-orientation of South Korea’s foreign policy towards Africa. Africa has, again, been placed at the periphery of South Korea’s foreign policy.