This article introduces both a conceptual and an analytical framework of economic diplomacy so as to contribute to sounder understanding of economic diplomacy’s activities, tools and goals. While the state is not regarded as the only player, or as a coherent entity, it is assumed that the state is the primary actor in economic diplomacy. The conceptual framework discerns five strands of economic diplomacy, which involve tools and purposes that are relatively more commercial/economic or political in character and are thereby closer to the ‘business end’ or ‘power-play end’ of economic diplomacy. The analytical framework identifies four essential dimensions of economic diplomacy within which historically contingent change may occur: the context; tools; theatres; and processes. Interaction between these dimensions takes place in multiple ways. Building on the insights provided by these frameworks, the article analyses the foci, assumptions and methodologies of the research fields that are concerned with economic diplomacy, and discusses the strategic and ideological considerations that underpin it.
The importance of economic issues, in a comprehensive multilateral and bilateral context, has been receiving increased attention in writings about the Korean Peninsula lately. This article adds to this debate by analysing Japan's relations with North Korea from an economic diplomacy perspective. The concept of 'negative economic diplomacy' is introduced to understand actions of the Japanese government, which had tried economic engagement in various ways until the early 1990s, but hardened its stance thereafter. Tokyo seems to have come to the conclusion that North Korean rulers are more willing to preserve the status quo than some wish to believe and, consequently, started to use the North Korean threat to justify Japan's controversial military enhancement in a context of uncertainty about the United States' commitment and an increasingly stronger China. is strategy was practised through a negative approach to economic diplomacy of withholding economic benefits—in policy fields ranging from the abductees and normalisation of diplomatic relations, to trade relations, sanctions and the six-way process. Japan's policy was most outspoken from late 2002 until at least mid-2007.