South Korea has termed India as a main actor in the South Asian Region in its first ever strategy on Indo Pacific. In the report titled ‘’Strategy for A free, Peaceful and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region’’ it states that India is a country with high potential, same values.
In the Indo-Pacific Policy, South Korea aims to strengthen the Special Strategic Partnership as well as economic ties with New Delhi.
The 24-page report has stated that it plans to increase its engagement with key partners in the region. The report focuses on expanding and strengthening its strategic dialogue and cooperation both within the Indo-Pacific region and also on the global level.
India & South Korea
With India it is keen to increase its strategic communication and cooperation through high-level exchanges both in defence and foreign affairs, as well as strengthening its enhanced economic cooperation by upgrading the ROK-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
It also talks about building an open and inclusive architecture in South Asia through different substantive cooperation programmes with sub regional minilateral including the Indian Ocean Region Rim association (IORA). South Korea had joined IORA as dialogue partner in 2018 and the SAARC which it joined as observer in 2006.
In Oceania it states that Australia and New Zealand are like minded partners and share interests and values.
And towards maintaining and strengthening the rules based international order in the region, South Korea is looking at deepening its ties by identifying new cooperation agenda in areas like defence, critical minerals, security, supply chain and climate change response. And with New Zealand it is looking at expanding cooperation in the economic sphere.
In the Pacific Island with whom it shares the Pacific Ocean, according to the report it will support the implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, as this is a long term development strategy for the Pacific Island Countries.
Africa and Indo-Pacific
In the new report it has stated that it will host the Korea-Africa Special Summit in 2024 to deepen its ties with countries along the eastern seaboard of Africa and the rest of the African continent.
South Korea since 2009 has increased its support for international efforts on counter-terrorism and maritime safety. And as part of these efforts Cheonghae Unit has been deployed to the Gulf of Eden. There are plans to explore more cooperation programmes with the countries on Coastal Eastern Africa in the maritime domain. It states that there are plans to support the partners in the region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through development cooperation which are especially tailored and to also increase collaboration on transnational challenges of mutual concern.
Also it plans to further bolster its network with East African countries and others in the Indian Ocean through its dialogue partnership with IORA and new regional organisations like Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
Europe & Latin America
To realise its vision for a free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific South Korea plans to further deepen its cooperation with the European Union and its member countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Several countries in Europe have unveiled their own Indo-Pacific strategy.
According to the report South Korea is looking for greater linkages and cooperation between the Indo-Pacific and Europe.
It states that Latin America is a major partner and it has plans to expand its collaboration with the countries in the region on matters related to economic security and trade as well as global issues on international stage and also to work towards strengthening multilateral cooperation networks with Latin America and Caribbean like Pacific Alliance, Mercosur, SICA and the CARICOM.
India is already holding talks with groupings like Mercosur for expansion of the trade agreement; with SICA and CARICOM it is working towards building deeper cooperation and with Pacific Alliance India already holds observer status.
USA & Japan
South Korea states that it has close cooperation with the USA and Japan – a useful trilateral platform of cooperation and this helps in not only addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats but also supply chain disruptions, emerging regional and global issues as well as cyber security, health crisis and climate change.
The report states that there is a potential for trilateral cooperation with the US and Australia which will help to tackle different challenges in supply chains, emerging technologies, critical minerals and cyber security among others.