Foreign Policy Looks South: Seoul’s ‘New Southern Policy’
KF-VUB KOREA CHAIR POLICY BRIEF • 07/2018
By Ramon Pacheco Pardo
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in the middle of a trip to India and Singapore. This visit fits within Seoul’s ‘New Southern Policy’, an effort by the Moon government to strengthen economic and diplomatic links with ASEAN and India. On the economic front, President Moon seeks to increase trade and investment between South Korea and its southern neighbours. Previous South Korean governments signed free trade agreements with both ASEAN and India, but increasing protectionism in the US and trade sanctions from China in 2017 convinced Seoul that it should further diversify its economic links. As for diplomacy, South Korea sees ASEAN, especially, and India as key partners to bring North Korea in from the cold. They can provide diplomatic support for President Moon’s engagement efforts, and Vietnam can serve as a model if and as North Korea continues to implement economic reform.