As the geopolitical importance of the Indo-Pacific has grown in recent years, major economies have released their own Indo-Pacific strategies. Historically, we have seen the ups and downs of globalization and international cooperation. While divisions and de-globalization have been on the rise recently, we need to prepare for a future where economic integration, which is being actively discussed in the Asia-Pacific region, will extend beyond the Indian Ocean.
In this article, I would like to offer some policy suggestions for South Korea with a longer-term perspective and a focus on its role as a global pivotal state. South Korea also launched its Indo-Pacific Strategy in December 2022 with the principles of inclusiveness, trust, and reciprocity. The challenges we face today cannot be solved without international cooperation. It is desirable to design trade policies to bring more countries into the discussion. To restore trust, we need to build an order based on universal values and principles. The international community can start by working together on issues that need to be addressed collectively. If necessary, we can work at multiple levels, issue by issue.
Reciprocity can be achieved through cooperation based on each country’s comparative advantage. Korea has shared the fruits of its FTA policy with partner countries. In the future, Korea should continue to pursue trade agreements with countries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and seek mutual benefits based on its comparative advantages in various fields such as technology, culture, international development cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and so on. Finally, I would like to suggest that South Korea take an interest in the APTA (Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement). Korea should identify areas where it makes contributions as a global pivotal state and reflect them in its trade policy.
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