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PacNet #25A – Global Korea’s “Backyard” Ventures in Southeast Asia

Traditionally South Korea’s “backyard” in terms of foreign policy priorities, Southeast Asia today is experiencing robust Korean engagement not just socially through the wild popularity of hallyu, or the “Korean wave” of pop culture, but economically as well. The ROK’s shift from an almost exclusive focus on its “frontyard” neighbors in Northeast Asia has important consequences not only for the region but for the success of the US “pivot” toward East Asia. Washington’s renewed interest in the broader Asia-Pacific region and expansion of cooperation beyond its traditional treaty allies can be greatly enhanced through commensurate and robust engagement by reliable partners such as the ROK, which shares not just interests but global values.