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This work seeks to analyse the rivalry foreign policies of the Republic of Japan and Republic of Korea towards a key market, that of the Republic of the Turkey. The work is entitled: ,,Diplomatic strategical-economical rivalry of Tokyo & Seoul toward Ankara in 21st century”. The author illustrates major strengths and weaknesses in the new foreign policies of Japan, South Korea and Turkey in the 21st century and seeks to discover major obstacles and the main benefits of the relations between these states. Through this, we will examine high political strategies from Japan, Turkey and South Korea. Additionally, we will try to understand the behaviour in this rivalry, why it has come to be and what the parties hope to achieve, and which diplomatic tools the actors are using.

The author has selected this issue to take an analytical view of the foreign policies of Turkey, South Korea and Japan to the Middle east from an Asian perspective and to the Asian region from a Middle Eastern perspective. It is important to understand the behaviour of these key Asian countries. The Middle East region will be important in the future because of the oil on which these Asian states are highly dependent. Moreover, the Middle East is increasing trade with the Asian countries as well as strategic policies. In this context, it is necessary to understand the behaviour of these states and how they are to interact in the future as they are also involved in the international communities, in which they will provide ground and influence in the future of international relations.

The author did not discover a single book focusing solely on a comparison between these states, analysing events between them in recent years and predicting the future on the basis of the current evidence. In addition, the author discusses the relevance and importance of theoretical power in terms of the use of evidence and data. The work may be of particular use for the future work of other students, professors and scholars towards Asia-Pacific-The Middle East-Central Asia relations.

Firstly, we will try to define Japan’s challenges in the years under survey and Japan’s strategy in the 21st century; how they will interact with the rising power of China and if/how they will cooperate with the United States. Secondly, our priority is to get to know the Turkish, Japanese and South Korean perceptions of the respective regions and how they will strategically use them against one another to secure their goals and access key trade market regions. It is important to know and understand international relations in these regions because in the future they will become among the most important locations from the diplomatic viewpoints of low and high politics.

I could not have written this analytical paper without the work of the following writers: Sung-Mi Kim, Selçuk Çolakoglu, Yu Hasumi, Ivan Petkov and Cheol Hee Park, whose works are tremendously useful to students and help us to undertake serious analysis of these states’ relations. Moreover, there are several more authors in the reference section which the author has to give credit to, as without them, it would have been impossible to write this work.

Moreover, I would like to especially thank Professor To-hai Liou for for his high quality lectures full of boundless knowledge, which also contributed to the writing of this paper.

I. Turkey

Turkey has had long-standing relations with China and Japan going back to the Ottoman Empire and has had a long-term military partnership with the United States following the Korean War and the Cold War, which can be summed up in the following quote: “In the case of a confrontation between the United States and China, Ankara will follow a policy compatible to that of Washington.”

Turkey’s current market comprises: 273 million population and $1.2 trillion market. Total foreign trade increased in 2002-2012 by 344% and trade with FTA partners by 276% in this period. Meanwhile, exports to FTA countries have increased by 454%.

Turkey is focusing on electricity production and renewable sources such as hydro and solar. Exports are divided between: FTA 39%, EU 9% and rest of the world, 52%. In imports, the division is EU 37%, FTA 5% and rest of the world, 58%.

China has become the largest exporter and importer for Turkey with a total trade of $24.1 Bn in 2012; meanwhile South Korea is the second largest trading partner and Japan the third in the export/import market. Other important import/export countries for Turkey from the East Asia region include Taiwan and Hong Kong from East Asia region. Thus, we can see, that the significance of trade with East Asia has been significantly on the rise since 2000, when the total trade was $4.8 Bn and $36.9 Bn in 2012.

Chinese and Turkish relations are not stable, as we saw when China refused the participation of Turkey in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); as an observer member, relations have deteriorated further. The “Issue” was solved by bringing in Turkey as a Dialogue Partner in the SCO in 2012. The goal of Turkey is to build long-term science and technology objectives and determine strategies for areas of R&D.

II. Japan

I. I. Tokyo & Ankara

Japan and Turkey have realised a long-term partnership since 1954, when they signed a trade agreement. Turkey recognised Japan as the biggest Asian country which could bring foreign financial resources to Turkey in terms of direct investment and technology transfer. In 1990, Turkey was one of the ten countries which received the most Japanese aid. Subsequently, Japan and Turkey signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010. However, after the tsunami disaster of 2011, Japan terminated this project in Sinop, but left open the possibility of returning to it in the future. In addition, Turkey wants to become a nuclear power and thus, there is competition over the building of nuclear power plant in Sinop, $22 Bn, between Russia, Japan and South Korea.

In 2013 Japan focused on the Bosphorus Rail Tube Crossing Project in Turkey, and on providing aid to grassroots human security projects and emergency humanitarian assistance as in 2014. In 2014 in technical cooperation, Japan and Turkey realised a training project on the development of sustainable aquaculture for the Middle East. Turkey’s location for Japan, as a country which is highly dependent on oil, is very important. Turkey is the door to Central Asia and the Middle East. After the Gulf War of 1991, there was a turning point for Japan to change its foreign policy towards the Middle East, which saw the creation of the ‘Japanese Middle East Policy’. Thus is Japan participating in many regional issues in the Middle East, including the problems of limited resources of water, regional economic development and refugees. Furthermore, Turkey has great potential for Japan from the liberal economy perspective. Turkey is open to innovation and is in possession of know-how capacity, which is an important tool for investment from developed countries. Moreover, Turkey is one of the most stable Middle Eastern countries in comparison with the Arab states.

President Erdogan and Prime Minister Abe have formed a personal friendship over recent years, and tend to be more involved in the relations of both countries in the future. Furthermore, Japan will continue to contribute to the peace and stability of the international community. There is negotiation taking place over a Japan-Turkey Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Moreover, there are several infrastructure projects in which Japanese companies are involved with Turkey.

Japan has already been engaged in the development of oil and natural gas fields in the Caspian Sea, the construction of the Ceylon Oil Pipeline linking Caspian Sea oil reserves with the Turkish Mediterranean Sea Coast and connecting it with the European Union.

Last but not least, Japanese people see Turkey as the most pro-Japanese nation in the world and relations are strengthened by historical, political and economic means in recent years which were provided by mutual assistance in many conflicts and earthquakes, which also bring the countries together. From the other side, Turkey sees Japan as a great civilisation with remarkable economic and technological achievements. Both countries share importance for the promotion of peace and prosperity in the world as a whole. Moreover, both countries are members of the G-20 and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

III. South Korea

There is two major and different political parties in South Korea. Dongmaengpa (동맹파, alliance faction) and Jajupa (자주파, self-reliance faction). In conservative perspective, there are for U.S. security cloud against North Korea’s threat, meanwhile Progressive party claims “Sunshine policy” which is a peaceful engagement with the North Korea and see the United States of America in negative way. The roots of this split between these two political parties is because of the Korean War.

South Korea share its borders with North Korea and China by land and with Japan by sea, that why it is necessary to talk more about its economic trade. Meanwhile, South Korea is the fifth largest export economic in the world, its export highly benefit from integrated circuits (10%), Cars (7.6%), or refined petroleum (8.0%). In import market, we are talking about crude petroleum (17%), petroleum gas (7.0%) and refined petroleum (5.3%). We can see, that in export they are highly benefit from technology, meanwhile bad strategical location of the South Korea is causing that Seoul is dependent highly on natural resources, which has not enough. The top export destinations of South Korea are China ($142 Bn) – 24% of its market, the United States of America ($70.1 Bn) – 12% and Japan ($32.2 Bn) – 5.5%. Meanwhile the top import origins of South Korea are China ($88. 9 Bn) – 17%, Japan ($52.9 Bn) – 10%, the United States ($43.9 Bn) – 8.6% and Saudi Arabia ($33.1 Bn) – 6.5% in 2014. We can see, that the China is the important part of trade market for Seoul and its highly dependency. In our strategical means, it is possible, that South Korea after the current scandal of the Seanuri Party (Dongmaengpa – conservative perspective) there will be the new president from the Jajupa (from the progressive perception). By that, there will be a switch toward Americanism in Seoul. South Korea will be more for China’s policy from the strategical means which now supporting the Presidential scandal and trade market economy. Moreover, there is a smart way to show, that South Korea will be more engage in the Middle East, because of its dependency on natural oil. We have to remember, that

Japan-Korean relations will not be always on its peak diplomatic relations, because Seoul it is a buffer zone between increasing tensions among Japan and People’s Republic of China. In additional, there is also ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the Dodo islands between Japan and South Korea. In inter-Korean relations, it is depend which political party is in the reign. During the reign of president Kim Dae-jung from South Korea, he created a “Sunshine Policy” which would bring a peaceful solution for both sides of Korean peninsula, however after a naval skirmish in 2002 the sunshine policy effort have been decreasing and supporting then by missiles tests from North Korea in 2006 and 2009. Nowadays, South Korea know, that military has to depend on the U.S. security in this region, however economical trade matters and South Korea is becoming more engage with the China.

South Korea seems itself as necessary role in World Affairs – disarmament and economic talks. Seoul role will be increase in SCO and MIKTA organisations which will use its middle-power policy.

III. I. Seoul’s behaviour

To provide us with a better picture of Seoul’s foreign policy over the last decade, we have to consider the last two presidents. Firstly, Lee Myung-bak (2008-13) was a conservative with a global vision; he portrayed Seoul as a ‘Global Korea’, Middle power state, which would prove a bridge between rich and poor countries. He also tried to enhance and apply for policy areas in climate change, international development and economic cooperation. Lee Myung-bak had US-centred approaches such as US-Japanese-Korean security cooperation. However, he was lacking in regional visions.

Secondly, President Park Geun-hye (2013-incumbent) is also a conservative, but has a re-thought agenda on China and does not want to promote the middle-power identity, with the exception of MIKTA. She focuses on international development and her security can be summed up as a balancing of diplomacy between the United States and China. The current government sees itself as a neutral state, balancing power, which has a position in the middle of superpowers and tries to pursue a strategy of neutrality and balancing. The foreign policy of the Park Geun-hye’s is focused on three pillars: trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula, the North East Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative and middle-power diplomacy through MIKTA. However, through these years, there has been a lack of initiative regarding the second and third pillars. Park’s government is trying to get closer to China in order to achieve the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, which cannot be achieved without Chinese participation. The President’s steps can be viewed as playing a hot card diplomatic game, in which she is trying to achieve better relations with China without distancing her country from the United States. President Park has also used the term Gyunhyung Jeongchaek (균형정책), which signifies a balancing policy. Furthermore, South Korea has a strategical location between maritime superpowers and continental superpowers as well as between communist/socialist authoritarian regimes (Russia and China) and capitalist democracies such as the United States and Japan, in which Seoul is a buffer zone.

South Korea’s diplomatic initiatives and thinking frameworks have long revealed – and reflected – a polarised ideological spectrum. Arguably, the ability to formulate a pragmatic and consistent foreign policy has been hampered by the sharp divisions between progressive and conservative politicians and their supporters. This can be represented roughy as a division between Dongmaengpa (동맹파, alliance faction), which favours a traditional conservative policy line emphasising the critical importance of the US alliance; and the Jajupa (자주파, self-reliance faction), comprising progressives seeking to guard against over-dependence on the US security guarantee. Furthermore, Seoul is a constructive power in the region by using its soft power, hard-power calculations and enlisting ambiguity as a strategic tool.

III. II. Economic Diplomacy

South Korea presents a beneficial sector for international cooperation and maintaining economic strength and acceleration through the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD. Moreover, Seoul has been engaged in peacekeeping, global economical stabilisation and working towards environmental conservation. In addition, they are also actively participating in training of public officials in developing countries; through these means, Seoul has been playing a middle power role since the beginning of this century. It hosted the G-20 Summit meeting in 2010 and the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012. Furthermore, South Korea is now trying to achieve the Global Green Growth Institute to help developing countries pursue green growth, and increasingly promotes  MITKA (Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Korea and Australia), which is a middle power network. Today’s government of President Park Geun-hye is a responsible middle power contributing to world peace and progress and trying to pursue its influence in global governance. Moreover, in terms of MITKA, it seeks to influence larger states through the co-existence of middle powers. However, MITKA members have not promoted any norms or particular steps for better regulation in the future, as it is still in its early stages.

In 2015 Seoul signed a free trade agreement with Beijing, while 2013 saw the opening between these countries of a national security council. Park wants to utilise China as an economic partner as well as for the future unification of the Korean peninsula. In addition, the Northeast Asian states have to cooperate together with Tokyo.

III. III.  Seoul’s politics

There are two major and divergent political parties in South Korea: Dongmaengpa (동맹파, alliance faction) and Jajupa (자주파, self-reliance faction). In the conservative perspective, they are in favour of a U.S. security cloud against the threat from North Korea, while the Progressive party upholds a “Sunshine policy” of peaceful engagement with North Korea and views the United States of America in a negative light. The roots of this split between the political parties lie in the Korean War. In South Korea, there is a main political organ, the National Assembly, where elections are held every four years. After the April 2016 elections, the dominant political party is Saenuri (NFP) with 122 seats, followed by Minjoo (Democratic) Party of Korea with 123 seats. Out of a total of 300 seats, the remaining ones are held by the People’s Party (38) and others (17).

South Korea shares land borders with North Korea and China, with Japan as its nearest neighbour by sea; this is why it is necessary to talk more about its economic trade. South Korea is the fifth largest export economy in the world; its exports are comprised largely of integrated circuits (10%), Cars (7.6%), and refined petroleum (8.0%). In terms of its import market, we are talking about crude petroleum (17%), petroleum gas (7.0%) and refined petroleum (5.3%). We can see that in exports, they benefit highly from technology; because of South Korea’s location, Seoul depends highly on natural resources. The top export destinations of South Korea are China ($142 Bn) – 24% of its market, the United States of America ($70.1 Bn) – 12%, and Japan ($32.2 Bn) – 5.5%. Meanwhile, the top import markets for South Korea are China ($88. 9 Bn) – 17%, Japan ($52.9 Bn) – 10%, the United States ($43.9 Bn) – 8.6% and Saudi Arabia ($33.1 Bn) – 6.5% in 2014. We can see that China is the important part of the trade market for Seoul with its high dependencies. In our strategic view, it is possible that South Korea, following the current scandal of the Seanuri Party (Dongmaengpa – conservative orientation), there will be a new president from Jajupa (progressiveorientation). Through this, there will be a switch away from Americanism. South Korea will be more in favour of China’s policy from the strategical means now fueling the presidential scandal and trade market economy. Moreover, there is a smart way to show that South Korea will be more engaged in the Middle East, because of its dependency on natural oil.

Park brought South Korea to the brink of chaos and was impeached on December 9th. The main question is, who can succeed her as the new President of South Korea? The liberal opposition has already experienced a split one year ago; meanwhile, the majority political party (Saenuri) may go the same way, after more than half its members voted for impeachment of its party leader. No matter what will happen, liberals will be in power in parliament until 2020. The current runner for President from the main opposition political party (Democratic party – Minjoo) is Moon Jae-in who lost the election against Park in 2012. As the possible future leader of South Korea, he has proclaimed that South Korea needs to turn more to the North than to the West; thus, the first call would be to Pyongyang with a view to reopening the Kaseong Industrial Complex (KIC), which Park closed in February. Moreover, Moon has also stated that the U.S. Terminal High Attitude Area Defence (THAAD) has to leave the country by the time next government comes in. At the same time, THAAD is a vital concern for the security of states such as North Korea or China, who could easily find themselves targets of its military capabilities. We can see that the future government of the Korea will be highly different to its previous one.

South Korea sees itself as playing a necessary role in World Affairs: disarmament and economic talks. Seoul’s participation will be on the increase in organisations such as SCO and MIKTA , where it will deploy its middle-power policy.

III. IV. Park Geun-hye’s biggest fight

The current situation in South Korea sees the President embroiled in the biggest fight of her political life. Choi Soon-sil, who was the shadow person behind the President and influenced her in shaping state policy, pocketed millions in corporate donations and other channels, according to opposition claims. This has led to calls for the President’s resignation, and a million people holding riots on the streets of Seoul. However, it cannot be agreed upon with certainty that the President was a puppet. We can see now that the current political steps are the same as they were during her whole time in office. In addition, the domestic & foreign policy of South Korea will be the same until the next earlier election.

Seoul should use this as an opportunity to enhance its infrastructure, to provide better growth for education institutions, civil society and other research institutes. In addition, the country should be brought to a more transparent state which would have clear rules of governing officials and transparency with regard to the collection and use of funds. Secondly, South Korea should enforce its democratic state and governance with its connecting power of wealth and individual rights. At present, Seoul needs conservative and progressive forces which will be able to dampen down the conflict between the people and the government. They are also debating revision of the constitution and setting up a two-headed system of Prime Minister and the President competing and sharing power. Furthermore, there has to be a two-term Presidency provision. The single five-year presidential term is not enough for the pursuit and enhancement of better policies for South Korea.

IV. North Korea

The Korean War broke out in 1950. Since then, a genuine ceasefire has not been achieved; both Koreas are still preparing for possible war. During the 7th Congress of the Worker’s Party of North Korea, they declared that they would become a nuclear state through revision of their Constitution.

North Korea is trying to search for new partners such as Russia and Japan, and break out from diplomatic and economic isolation; meanwhile, South Korea is trying to develop closer ties with China – current relations between the countries can be seen as the best since 1992. From South Korea’s perspective, there were serious attempts to achieve a peaceful reunification with North Korea, and some initial progress was seen in 2005. However, from 2009 North Korea pressed aheadwith nuclear tests. The fifth and most recent nuclear experiment from North Korea occurred in September 2016. President Park, during her last visit to Dresden, Germany, stated that unification of Korea would be a beacon for human rights, democracy and nuclear disarmament in the Asia region. In addition, South Korea is seeking to create a network for peaceful unification through European countries in the Visegrád Four, along with the EU, ASEAN and MIKTA.

2016 was a critical yera for North Korea, as its third generation Leader Kim Jong-un held the first full Congress of its ruling Workers’ Party (WPK) in 36 years, in May. There were also two more nuclear tests launched and many missiles tests.

The Beijing/Pyongyang relationship is growing and there has been no action taken against its nuclear tests from the Beijing side. Trade volume rose by 4.4% in September 2013, where oil exports increased from $55 million in January to $115 million in March, 2016. Moreover, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao has been sent to North Korea for the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice agreement. The policy of China towards North Korea is summed up as 换汤不换药 (change of medicine container, but no change of medicine). The U.S. and China are the only outside actors who are shaping the strategic balancing on the Korean peninsula, but the main core of the relations on this peninsula are the Koreans themselves.

The main concepts of Pyongyang’s foreign policy are as follows: the door open to Six-Party talks about the North Korea’s nuclear program, the stipulation that Six-Party talks must be preceded by North-South Korean talks, improvements of North-South Korean relations amd greater relations with China, and in response to the tightening of sanctions against North Korea, the conduction of a series of military exercises. We can see that Pyongyang will continue to develop new nuclear missiles programmes and will tend to focus more on propaganda directed at eventually bringing North Korea to the negotiating round table.

IV. I. Diplomatic relations of Korean Peninsula

The deployment of THAAD, which was jointly announced by South Korea and the U.S. in July 2016, was the main reaction against North Korea nuclear weapons and missiles. At the same time, the deployment signifies that South Korea has to be in a diplomatic security partnership with U.S.-Japan which targets not only North Korea, but also China. The main priority of THAAD is using the AN/TPY-2 radar to identify mid-to-long range ballistic missiles from China or North Korea toward U.S. military bases, Japan, Guam, or South Korea. Moreover, the deployment of THAAD creates an environment in which China will not be in support of further peaceful reunification of  the Korean peninsula and the re-opening of its 6-party talks. The priorities for 2017 will be the creation of a peace system on the Korean peninsula and the realisation of better relations between North Korea, Japan, the U.S., China and South Korea.

During President Park’s first days in office, she was conscious of Lee Myung-bak’s China policy failure, and tried to establish better relations. She was also aware of its importance as an actor who could contribute to peaceful Korean reunification. Thinking back to the Presidency of her father Park Chung-hee, she recalled Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon’s diplomacy of détente with China, which bypassed South Korea; for this reason, she tended to have a greater interest in China than with the U.S. South Korea and the U.S. have had a long-standing relationship since the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, and it is one of the most important strategic and economic partnerships in Asia. In the ROK, there are around 28, 500 U.S. troops stationed. In addition, Seoul is under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella”. Both countries are sharing the KORUS FTA (Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement) and South Korea is the United States’s 7th largest trading partner (the U.S. is the 2nd largest trading partner for Seoul). For Japan, the main priority is partnership with the, U.S. and Prime Minister Abe believes that during its emergency, South Korea will follow the path of the diamond league (the democratic camp in Asia). The most painful step for China would be if South Korea were to conclude a defence treaty with Japan, to exchange military information and establish a stronger missile defence system.

The fist trilateral summit since 2014 took place between Prime Minister Abe and Presidents Obama and Park, where they agreed on a future Korea policy at all levels of government: ensuring the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, restoring “a sense of stability and peace” to the region and shining a spotlight on human rights conditions in North Korea. As was mentioned above, the Chinese do not see this trilateral cooperation as positive because, since June 2016, U.S., South Korean and Japanese Aegis ships shared intelligence in a training exercise. Seoul has still not concluded a defence cooperation agreement with Tokyo, because of hesitancy on its own side. However, Japanese-Korean relations will not always be at a peak level of diplomatic relations, because Seoul provides a buffer zone between the increasing tensions among Japan and the People’s Republic of China. In addition, there is also an ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the Dodo Islands between Japan and South Korea. In inter-Korean relations, it depends which political party is in power. During the rule of President Kim Dae-jung from South Korea, a “Sunshine Policy” was created with a view to bringing a peaceful solution for both sides on the Korean peninsula; however, after a naval skirmish in 2002 the Sunshine Policy efforts have been on the wane, and were effectively scuttled by missiles tests from North Korea in 2006 and 2009. South Korea is at present aware of the fact that its military has to depend on U.S. security in the region; however, economic trade matters and South Korea is becoming more engaged with China.

The high point of the partnership between Seoul and Washington, D.C. was reached during 2016, when they declared the deployment of THAAD, ballistic missiles defence system (BMD) in South Korea and shut down the Kaesong Industrial complex where was more than 120 South Korean manufacturers employed over 50, 000 North Korean workers. By these means, the Obama administration sought to put pressure on Pyongyang’s behaviour, but it has not been modified to any significant extent. The administration declared that it: “ … will seek additional, tougher sanctions by the U.N. Security Council and bilaterally, as well as increase pressure on North Korea by using all possible measures in order to make the North abandon its nuclear program.”

Interesting to note is that South Korea, in March 2015, joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This is a new China-led multilateral development bank, which has on board many allies of the U.S., including Australia and the United Kingdom. The Obama administration, however, refused to join. Joining with this organisation can help states to fulfil their infrastructure investment needs. However, it is also undermining efforts which developed with the U.S. over recent decades.

We have to remember that the two Koreas have a common history, language and ethnicity; the only difference is on the ideological issue. Nevertheless, connections between the South and North are slowly disappearing because South Koreans see the North as a national threat rather than belonging to the same ethnic nationality. Thus in the future, people-to-people communication will be a necessary element.

V. South Korea’s foreign relations with Tokyo & Ankara

V. I. Seoul & Tokyo

Both, Japan and South Korea, are reliable allies of the United States of America. Japan and South Korea has become a model of free markets and international trade. In 2014, Tokyo and Seoul traded $85 Bn in goods. Both are partaking of Korean culture in the form of songs, movies and soaps. Equally, Japanese Manga, novels and anime, have become extremely popular in South Korea. However, there is still the unresolved issue of the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations and territorial disputes over Liancourt Rocks between Japan and South Korea, which will have to be managed for better relations and partnership in the future. Furthermore, the U.S. see these two allies as important in terms of countering the effects of the rise of China.

Prime Minister of Japan Abe and President of South Korea Park Geun-hye are speaking about the new era of the great negotiation. This has to be concluded with a deal regarding the ‘comfort women’,which would provide aid for women affected by World War II, and completed with a final version of the Treaty on Basic Relations as mentioned above.

South Korea and Japan are liberal democracies and share interests in the areas of education, science and technology. However, with regard to the rising China’s foreign policies, the countries are distinct. Seoul does not see China as a threat but as an opportunity for trade and technological exchanges, while Japan does see China as a threat, mainly owing to the conflict over territorial disputes.

V. II. Seoul & Ankara

After the Korean War, Turkey, along with the U.S., continued to support South Korea and tried to enhance its diplomatic relations. However, diplomatic relations between Turkey and South Korea did not enhance any break in diplomatic events. In the 1990s, Turkey had diplomatic divorces with the European Union and changed its view towards East Asian countries so as to cooperate with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Since 1990, bilateral relations between Ankara and Seoul have seen an increase in ministerial and presidential visits. Moreover, in 1996, the Hyundai Company started producing automobiles in Turkey, and both countries have increased production in the area of defence. In 2001, Seoul and Ankara signed a deal between the Turkish Land Forces Command and the Korean Samsung Company to the tune of around $1 Bn.

In 2007 Korea and Turkey celebrated the 50th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations. However, cultural and academic exchanges are minimal. South Korean relations with Turkey are not on as high a level as of those between Japan and Turkey, and this is something that needs to be addressed in the near future. Seoul and Ankara share similar problems over Chinese policies towards Uyghur Turks and Korean minorities, which may lead to common strategies against China.

More than 202 South Korean companies are active in Turkey. The main investment areas are automotive, IT, mining, tourism and manufacturing industries. In addition, South Korea and Turkey’s FTA are also focused on trade in services and investments. The current Turkish President Erdogan wants to repair relations with South Korea to establish a higher demand for greater investment and technology. Turkish people are dependent on South Korean products from giants such as Samsung, Hyundai and Kia. South Korea and Turkey are now concerned with regional peace and security cooperation as well as working together in the water, transport, agriculture, education and health sectors. After the signing of “Joint Declaration on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership”, they updated this bilateral agreement to the strategic partnership level. There was also the Second Nuclear Security Summit held in Seoul in 2012.

A curious commonality is that these countries have had a similar amounts of coups d’etats, which tend to occur around every two decades. Meanwhile, Korea advances technologically after every coup, while Turkey is set back ten years by each of them. Both countries tend to accord a high priority to their defence budgets.

VI. Global economic diplomatic opportunities

VI. I. Black Sea – Tokyo’s Opportunity

The Black Sea represents an important geopolitical gateway, linking Europe with Central Asia, a region with more than 330 million people and 20 million sq. The strategic importance of the Black Sea is as a key geopolitical crossroads linking Europe with Central Asia. In times of global financial crisis this area of  huge economic potential became even more attractive and challenging for future developments. Cooperation with the Black Sea states on energy is a highly attractive proposition for Japan, as a country which lacks energy resources. Japan is now focused on promoting economic independence and developments of states in the region, and is also concerned to utilise twin track diplomacy, increasing trade companies and energy sectors along with the involvement of governmental officials in peace building. Moreover, Tokyo is also involved in the Black Sea region in the battle against organised crime, illegal migration, terrorism, money laundering, illegal human trafficking and fighting against domestic violence. It is also important for energy transportation routes, geopolitical and strategic significance. In engaging in this region, it may be possible to bring and build confidence and stability as well as promoting the universal values of democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and the market economy in the region.

In concluding this chapter, we can observe that Japan will be an efficient state contributor to the Black Sea, in which diverse states with different values have to coexist. In addition, Tokyo in the Black sea region is focused on the Bosphorus tunnel under the sea, which will connect Asia with Europe, through the ODA.

VI. II. The Shanghai Five Group

This group of states is very important for active participation in Central and East Asia from the Republic of Turkey; thus, we have to acknowledge it and provide it with a brief analytical framework.

The Shanghai Five group, which was created in 2001, consists of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Dialogue partners include Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka, with observer status extended to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia. This group is focused on values such as common security challenges inlcuding anti-terrorism and separatist movements. The main goal is the provision of a confidence-building forum to demilitarise borders, counterterrorism  (terrorism, separatism and extremism) and intelligence-sharing and integration with the China Silk Road Economic Road. The whole decision-making process is built on consensus, with all states having to maintain a core principle of non-aggression and non-interference in internal affairs.

Turkey sees this simply as a way to enhance its position in Central and East Asia. However, there are strategic political clashes between Russia and China to contend with, where Beijing wants to assert economically control over this community, which Russia resists because it endangers its own position in Central Asia.


This organisation is very interesting and important for the future development of relations from the South Korean perspective, which is why we have to acknowledge and analyse it from the diplomatic perspective.

MIKTA is based on the principle of shared values and interests, and is also a flexible and informal platform for the common interests of the community (Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, the Republic of Korea and Australia). It is led by the foreign ministers of the countries. Over many years, the countries have seen an increase in collaboration between academics, diplomats, journalists and experts in areas ranging from of trade, gender equality, governance and international security. It is a platform for exchanging opinions and understanding the views of different countries. In addition, the main goal of MITKA is the protection of public goods and strengthening of global governance.

All members are in the G-20 community, the United Nations and World Trade Organisation. These members are middle powers in their regions, and are also of mixed economic classification as advanced and emerging economies. The main areas on which the states are focused are peacekeeping, trade and the economy, gender equality, good governance, sustainable development, international energy governance, energy access, counter-terrorism and security. There have also been several other notable MIKTA activities, including joint statements on the North Korean Nuclear Test of January 2016, the terrorist attack in Turkey of October 2015 and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 July 2014. In additional, the ‘chairman’ of MIKTA rotates annually; currently, the chair is held by Australia. Previously, it was held by Korea in 2015 and Mexico in 2014.

The main strength is flexibility and their unique geographical locations, together with the diversity of their economies. We can see that all members are democracies and, through their growing competitiveness, foreign direct investment flows and innovation can lead forward to greater expansion as one community toward the global market.

VII. International Relations; Ankara – Tokyo x Seoul

There are several rivalries between South Korea and Japan in relation to Turkey such as, for example, over the contract for the development of a nuclear power plant in Sinop. Turkey does not have any serious disputes with either Japan or South Korea, so diplomatic relations between these countries are on very stable ground. After the transformation of Turkish foreign policy in the 2000s, they commenced proactive policies towards near and far neighbours. Thus, the East Asian countries are very important for the Republic of Turkey, in order to enhance its relations with other Asian countries.

Turkish exports to Japan stood at $334 million in 2015 (fish, vehicles, tramway), with imports from Japan of $3140 million (machinery, nuclear reactors, electronic equipment). Meanwhile trade between Turkey and South Korea stood at exports of $0.56 Bn (electrical and electronics products, vehicles, machine) in 2015 and imports (mineral fuels, electrical and electronics products, machine, iron-steel) of $7, 54 Bn.

We can see that there are several triangles in this relationship: Tokyo-Ankara-The Middle East, Ankara-Seoul/Tokyo-Asia, Seoul-Ankara-Central Asia. Both South Korea and Japan seek to use their abilities to enhance their integration in the key regions and, through that, to increase their political and economical resources. With Turkey, one example is that significant bilateral agreements with Japan provide easy access to Asian markets. In Seoul’s case, there is an increasing trade efficiency with Turkey, and she is the second largest importer and exporter, behind only China as an Asian country. We can see that in economic terms, Seoul is leading the race over Tokyo, but we have to bear in mind that Tokyo is winning the major Turkish projects, and Japan is also the most trustworthy Asian ally for Turkey with their relationship on a higher level than that with Seoul, primary when we are talking about security means.

Turkish, Japanese and Korean priorities are to access their preferred regions. In Japan’s case, this is through the Middle East and Africa to Europe. From the South Korea perspective, it is to stabilise trade with the Middle Eastern countries and achieve better relations with Turkey, with regard to its increasing dependence on scarce resources. From the Turkish perspective, Ankara cannot rely on Europe and that is why they have to trade with the Asian states, where 60% of whole world trade market is located; firstly, by trading with China, secondly, by strategic partnership with Japan and finally, by trade with South Korea.

Turkey, through its partnerships with China will slowly join and connect with China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and, by this means, enhance its influence in the Far East and the Asian region. With the Turkish-Japanese partnership, Ankara can enter more into technological and innovative markets and, with Seoul, can consolidate its access to Asian markets and increase its influence in the future with ASEAN member states and play a key role in East Asia issues. Moreover, through partnership with democratic countries such as South Korea and Japan, it will enhance its relationship with the U.S. which will also continue to be an important ally in Asia.


We have seen that, since the Arab Oil Embargoes in the 1970s, Japan has diversified its energy resources but remains dependent on the oil; this is why Tokyo looks to Turkey as an important partner and strengthens its relations with the Republic, for whom it is the main economical and political partner and vice versa. President Erdogan and Prime Minister Abe have established a personal friendship over recent years which has cemented the relations of both countries. Moreover, Japan wants to use its relations with Turkey as a gateway to the Middle East, and subsequently to increase its trade relations with the European Union.

In relations with Tokyo and Seoul, we discovered that both countries are models of free markets and international trade in Asia, and both countries are influenced by each other through their soft power. However, they still have not resolved disputes over the Liancourt Rocks and achieved a workable treaty on the basis of the Treaty of Basic Relations of 1965. These countries suffer from a scarcity of resources, and that is why their position toward the Middle East is marked by lively competition. These countries are keenly aware of China’s Rise, which Tokyo sees as a threat, but Seoul sees as opportunity to expand economic trade and pursue the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. Moreover, Japan is trying to fully participate in the Black Sea region, which is a key area for trade with Turkey, which provides Japan with access to many its regional states. Tokyo is pursuing twin track diplomacy, in the areas of increasing trade companies and energy sectors, along with the involvement of government officials in peace building promotions. South Korea and its current conservative President Park Geun-hye is playing a hot card with China and the U.S. and is trying to maintain positive relations with both countries. She is not supportive of the middle power identity, except with regard to participation in MIKTA. The President’s actions fall into the category of balance diplomacy focused on three pillars: trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula, the North East Asia Peace and Cooperative Initiative and middle power diplomacy through MIKTA. South Korea and Japan are members of the G-community; Japan is in the G5, while South Korea is in the G20 and both are actively participating in organisations such as the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD. The current President of South Korea is engaged in the biggest fight of her political life as was mentioned above, but at the same time, this presents Seoul with an opportunity to enhance and make revisions to its Constitution, provide for a longer Presidential term and set up a two-headed system of Prime Minister and President sharing power for the better management of country.

In Seoul/Ankara relations, we discovered that Seoul is trying to create International Summits to increase its status, while Turkey is open for trade in technology and innovation; we can see now that Seoul is the second largest trading partner with Ankara from the Asian states. Both states are concerned for regional peace and security, along with cooperation in water, transport, agriculture and education sectors. However, the relations are not as strong as those betwee Tokyo and Ankara, mainly because Seoul’s high politics in this relationship only came into effect since 2012.

Among the Asian states, Turkey has its partnership with Japan. Moreover, Turkey is utilising participation in The Shanghai Five Group, as Japan is utilising its access to the Black Sea. By participation in this community, it may increase its trade and influence within Central Asia and East Asia and, in the future, connect to the biggest economical project since the Marshall Plan, the One Belt One Road Initiative.

Turkey and South Korea are members of the MIKTA community, which also includes Mexico, Indonesia and Australia. This community is focused on peacekeeping, trade and the economy, as well as gender equality and sustainable development and is set to increase relations both in high and low politics, between Turkey and South Korea. We can see that this may be a stabilising factor in future cooperation and will strengthen diplomatic relations between Seoul and Ankara as they share management of policy within this community.

Finally, Seoul is increasing its diplomatic relations with Ankara, but it will still take time (about two decades) to achieve relations on the level that we see between Ankara and Tokyo. Moreover, both countries are securing their access to scarce resources as well as to the new markets of the Middle East from Japan’s side, and to East Asia from Turkey’s side. However, Seoul and Tokyo cannot halt the increasing influence of the rising China rise, but can only seek to reduce it by step-by-step diplomacy, if such will be required of them in the future.

China, assuredly, will become the largest partner with Turkey in terms of high politics and security issues; through this, their relations will increase after the entrance of Turkey into the One Belt One Road Initiative. Subsequent to this, relations between the Tokyo-Seoul-Ankara could see rapidly changes.


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