Korea’s Soft Power as an Alternative Approach to Africa in Development Cooperation

Beyond Economic Interest-led Perspectives of Korea-Africa Relations?

in African and Asian Studies
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


* The first version of this paper was presented at the Fifth European Conference on African Studies (ecas 5), which was held on June 27-29, 2013 at iscte-iul Lisboa, Portugal. I am deeply grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on the previous drafts. This work was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2014.

The rise of China as an emergent global power in gaining access to energy and mineral resources is one of the main factors for reinforcing Korea’s aid to Africa. Although Korea recognizes the limits of searching for ways of furthering its ‘resource diplomacy’ based primarily on economic pragmatism, the Korean government has strived to utilize foreign aid as a tool for soft power. Korea’s perspective is to play a bigger role in addressing global issues as well as to aspire in becoming a middle power, in the sense that it is not regionally influential in spite of its growing powers. Given that middle power diplomacy tends to pursue a norm-based approach and also provides knowledge and/or ideas relevant to a unique niche that it finds important, it is characteristically soft power-oriented. Taking into account the non-material or ideational factors as well as material ones, constructivists in the field of international relations (ir) recognize the power of ideas, norms, institutions, and interests, which contain the core elements of what Nye calls soft power. In this context, this paper attempts to illuminate some of the important questions as to why and how Korea has endeavored to focus on developing its soft power strategy toward Africa in the new millennium.

Korea’s Soft Power as an Alternative Approach to Africa in Development Cooperation

Beyond Economic Interest-led Perspectives of Korea-Africa Relations?

in African and Asian Studies



AcharyaAmitav AdlerEmanuelBarnettMichael Collective Identity and Conflict Management in Southeast Asia Security Communities 1998 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

AdlerEmanuel “Seizing the Middle Ground: Constructivism in World Politics” European Journal of International Relations 1997 3 3 319 363

AldenChrisLargeDaniel “China’s Exceptionalism and the Challenges of Delivering Difference in Africa” Journal of Contemporary China 2011 20 68 21 38

BaeYooil “Learning from the Korean Model: Middle Power, Idea Diffusion, and Knowledge Sharing Program (ksp) Korean Association for Public Administration International Conference 2010

ChoHae-Joang “Reading the ‘Korean Wave’ as a Sign of Global Shift” Korea Journal 2005 45 4 147 182

ChunHong-minMunyiElijah N.LeeHeejin “Korea as an Emerging Donor: Challenges and Changes on its Entering oecd/dac Journal of International Development 2010 22 789 791

FolleyRob “Korea’s oda to Africa: Strategic or Humanitarian?” 2011 accessed 28 October 2012 the u.s.-Korea Institute at saishttp://www.uskoreainstitute.org.

GiddensAnthony The Constitution of Society 1984 Berkeley University of California Press

KahlerMiles “Soft Power and Network Power” 2009 Paper presented at the Conference on Soft Power Diplomacy 2009 Jeju, South Korea

KalinowskiThomasHyekyungCho “Korea’s Search for a Global Role between Hard Economic Interests and Soft Power” European Journal of Development Research 2012 24 2 242 260

KangGil Seong “The Korea-Africa Partnership: Beyond Trade and Investment” Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Africa Economic Brief 2011 2 9 1 8

KangSeon-Jou “Africa’s Opportunities and Challenges: A Study on Strengthening Korea’s Diplomacy Toward Africa” East Asia’s Changing Security Environment and Diplomacy Task for Korea 2008 Seoul IFANS in the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (ed.)

KimJae-DooShimKyungwookChoKwansik Energy Security 2007 Seoul Korea Institute of Defense Analysis (KIDA) Press)

Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (koafec) 2006 accessed 25 March 2012 “Final Statement of the Ministerial Conference on Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation” 24-30 April 2006 Seoul http://www.koafec.org/../file.jsp?...final%20state

KimJae-Doo 2007 accessed 25 March 2012 http://www.koafec.org/en/about/k_overview.jsp?menu=ak01

KimJae-Doo “New Development Partnership with edcf 2008 accessed 25 March 2012 KOAFEC Workshop Material July 31, 2008 Accra, Ghana http://www.koafec.org/admin/en/documents/fil

Korea Eximbank “Foreign Investment Statistics” 2010 accessed 20 February 2012 http:www.koreaexim.go.kr/en/fdi/stat_03.jsp

Korea.net news “Korea Pledges Aid, Training at Second Africa Forum in Seoul” 2009 December 2 2009

KowertPaul “National Identity: Inside and Out” Security Studies 1998/99 8 2/3 1 34

LagerkvistJohanJonssonGabriel “Foreign Aid, Trade and Development: The strategic presence of China, Japan and Korea in sub-Saharan Africa” ui Occasional Papers 2011 No. 5

LeeGeun “A Theory of Soft Power and Korea’s Soft Power Strategy” The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 2009a 21 2 205 218

LeeSook-Jong “South Korea’s Soft Power Diplomacy” eai Issue Briefing 2009b June 1. 2009

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (mofat) of Republic of Korea (rok) Diplomacy White Paper 2007 Seoul MOFAT

LeeSook-Jong 2012 accessed 25 October 2012 “The Third Korea-Africa Forum” 18 October 2012 Seoul http://www.mofat.go.kr/eng/press/ministrynews/20121018/1_44139

NyeJoseph The Means to Success in World Politics 2004 New York Public Affairs

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (oecd) “Development Cooperation of the Republic of Korea” 2008 accessed 21 January 2012 dac Special Review August 8 2008 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/53/50/42347329.pdf

Pan African News Agency “African, Korean ministers adopt plan to boost economy in 2009-2010” 2008 accessed 2 December 2012 http://www.afriquejet.com/news/africa-news/african-korean-ministers-adopt-plan-to-boost-economy-in-2009-2010-2008102814641.html

ParkKang-ho “Korea’s Role in Global Development” Brookings Northeast Asia Commentary 2010 accessed 03 April 2012 No. 36 http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0209_korea_global_development

ParkSoo-deok “Ways to Share Korea’s Development Experience with Africa” Korea Focus 2011

ParkYoung-ho Korea’s Agricultural oda Policy toward Africa 2009 Seoul Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

PlochLaurenCookNicolas “Madagascar’s Political Crisis” crs Report for Congress 2012

SohnYul ‘Middle Powers’ Like South Korea Can’t Do Without Soft Power and Network Power 2012 accessed 22 April 2013 http://www.globalasia.org/print.php?c=e516

Steelguru “South Korea to finance new nickel mine in Madagascar” 2007 accessed 12 March 2011 10 April 2007 http://www.steelguru.com/international-news

The Korea Times “Korea offers to double aid to Africa” 2010 accessed 28 October 2012 September 15 2010 http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/include/print.asp?newsIdx=73121

un comtrade “International Trade Statistics Yearbook, Volume I – Trade by country 2010 accessed 17 February 2011 http://comtrade.un.org/db/help/ServiceMessage.aspx?rowid=539

WendtAlexander “Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics” International Organization 1992 46 2 391 425

WendtAlexander Social Theory of International Politics 1999 Cambridge Cambridge University Press


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 74 74 16
Full Text Views 93 93 75
PDF Downloads 7 7 7
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0