In a closely contested presidential election in South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition party got elected and took charge of 13th President of South Korea on 10 May 2022. Prior to his sudden entry into politics, he was Prosecutor General of South Korea and his experience in politics is quite limited. There are speculations about his leadership as well as his policies. He gave several bold and provocative statements during his election campaign but it would be interesting to see whether he moves ahead in accordance to his past utterances or he moderates his postures.
Apparently, he intends to bring a shift away from the previous administration’s foreign policy. He has promised to bring more warmth in the country’s relationship with the US and improve South Korea’s relationship with Japan. His statements that South Korea would invite more THAAD batteries as well as American tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea have annoyed China and it would be important to see if Yoon Suk-yeol’s approach causes economic and other repercussions for South Korea’s relations with China. The new President of South Korea would also look for more reciprocity in the inter-Korea relations and there are apprehensions that inter-Korea relations may remain stagnant during his tenure. Unlike the Moon Jae-in administration, the current administration appears to be more overt in its support to Indo-Pacific strategy and not averse to becoming a member of the Quad. Moon Jae-in preferred to work through New Southern Policy in the region but Yoon Suk-yeol preferences appear to be different. Thus, in the changing Indo-Pacific, the foreign policy orientation of the new administration of South Korea would be quite important. The proposed deliberation is meant to decipher and understand Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s foreign policy approach and its implications for the region.
About the Speakers
Sang Hyun Lee is a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute in Korea. He also serves as President of the Korea Nuclear Policy Society (KNPS). He has been policy advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Unification, and Ministry of National Defense. He has served as Director-General for Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) from May 2011 to April 2013. He has been a visiting scholar at Institute for Development and Security (ISDP) in Stockholm, Sweden, and Stimson Center in Washington DC. Lee's main research interests include international politics and security, Korea-U.S. relations, inter-Korean relations, nuclear security and non-proliferation, and East Asian security issues. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Seoul National University and Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999.
Sandip Mishra is associate professor at Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Mishra has been Visiting Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library and Museum, Institute for Far East Studies, Kyungnam University, Sejong Institute, Northeast Asia History Foundation, and Korean Institute for International Economic Policy. He has published several articles in Indian and Korean academic journals along with book chapters and contributed opinion articles to Indian and Korean newspapers such as Korea Times, Indian Express, Financial Express, Pioneer, and Statesman. He completed his Master degree in International Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University and obtained his M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the same university. He has studied Korean Language at Yonsei University and Sogang University.
Angana Guha Roy is a research associate at Delhi Policy Group. Her research interests pertain to various dimensions of International Relations theory, Indian Foreign Policy, Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region, and Conventional and Non- Conventional Threats. She completed her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi. Her Ph.D. thesis dealt with " South Korea's New Asia Initiative: Search for Regional Power Status''. In 2013, she received the Shinan Bank Dream Foundation Scholarship from Shinan Bank. She has published research papers and articles and has presented papers in various national and international conferences in India and abroad.
About the Chair
Skand Ranjan Tayal is Adjunct Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies. He was Ambassador of India to the Republic of Korea during 2008-11. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976 and served in Indian Missions in Sofia, Warsaw, Geneva and Moscow. He was India’s Consul General in Johannesburg (1996-98) and Houston (2002-05), and Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan (2005-08). He has wide experience in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and has been a frequent speaker on contemporary affairs. He regularly writes for academic journals. He has authored a book India and Republic of Korea: Engaged Democracies (2013). Tayal is a graduate of Allahabad University and has a postgraduate degree in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
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