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  • Author: Mark Beeson, Richard Higgott
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Middle power theory is enjoying a modest renaissance. For all its possible limitations, middle power theory offers a potentially useful framework for thinking about the behavior of, and options open, to key states in the Asia-Pacific such as South Korea, Japan and Australia, states that are secondary rather than primary players. We argue that middle powers have the potential to successfully implement 'games of skill', especially at moments of international transition. Frequently, however, middle powers choose not to exercise their potential influence because of extant alliance commitments and the priority accorded to security questions. We sub-stantiate these claims through an examination of the Australian case. Australian policymakers have made much of the potential role middle powers might play, but they have frequently failed to develop an independent foreign policy position because of pre-existing alliance commitments. We suggest that if the 'middle power moment' is to amount to more than rhetoric, opportunities must be acted upon.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, Latin America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's state visit to the US was a big event that attested to the strength of the two countries' relationship and the personal ties between Presidents Obama and Lee. The timely passage of the KORUS FTA in the US was the big deliverable for the summit. Final ratification of the FTA in both countries clears one longstanding issue and lays the foundation for greater economic integration and a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, the most shocking news for the final third of the year was the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in late December. His death disrupted US-DPRK bilateral talks as North Korea observed a mourning period for its late leader. The US and South Korea spent the last two weeks of December quietly watching developments in North Korea as the reclusive country accelerated its succession process to swiftly transfer power to the anointed successor, Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The quarter started off well with the first meeting of Presidents George W. Bush and Lee Myung-bak at Camp David in April. The two leaders emphasized common values and the global scope of the alliance. They reached an agreement to maintain current U.S. troop levels on the Peninsula, which appeared to be an attempt by conservatives in Seoul to reverse the unfortunate trend they saw during the Roh-Rumsfeld era where each side was perceived as whittling away at the foundations of the alliance for disparate reasons. An important but understated accomplishment was Bush's public support of Lee's request to upgrade the ROK's foreign military sales status. Should this request be approved by the Congress, it would amount to a substantial upgrading of the bilateral alliance relationship as it would give Seoul access to a wider range of U.S. military technologies similar to what NATO and other allies like Australia enjoy. Finally, the two governments inked a memorandum of understanding on security improvements necessary to enable the ROK's entry to the U.S. visa waiver program.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, Korean Peninsula