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The ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy under President Yoon: Key Elements and Strategic Implications
Published November 14, 2022
Publication Source: IFANS
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President Yoon Suk Yeol outlined the key elements of his administration’s new Indo-Pacific strategy on 11 November 2022 at the 23rd ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. President Yoon pledged that his administration will “implement its Indo-Pacific strategy under the principles of inclusiveness, trust, and reciprocity based on the vision of free, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

First of all, President Yoon vowed to pursue a comprehensive regional strategy toward the Indo-Pacific, underscoring that promoting peace and stability in the region is critical to the ROK’s survival and prosperity. To that end, Yoon stressed that his administration will step up cooperation with key regional players in the Indo-Pacific including ASEAN countries.

Second, President Yoon articulated that the primary goal of the ROK’s new Indo-Pacific strategy is to foster a rules-based order firmly anchored in universal values. In this regard, Yoon reiterated that “any unilateral change in the status quo by force should never be tolerated,” vowing to shore up efforts at expanding the ROK’s roles in advancing peace and security in the region.

Third, President stressed that the ROK seeks to build an “open and fair” economic order in the Indo-Pacific by joining forces in strengthening the resilience of global supply chains and economic security in the region, and creating inclusive economic and technological ecosystems.

Fourth, President Yoon expressed his willingness to take on greater international responsibilities, bolster the ROK’s contributions to development cooperation, and address the challenges of climate change, the digital divide, public health, etc.

Fifth, President Yoon also stressed that ASEAN countries are central to his Indo-Pacific initiative, and pledged to reorient Korean foreign policy to renew its commitment to ASEAN. More specifically, President Yoon reiterated the ROK’s unwavering support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and his determination to deepen strategic ties with ASEAN.

It is expected that a full document, which includes details of Seoul’s new Indo-Pacific initiative that President Yoon briefly introduced and  a roadmap for implementation of the strategy, will be released and made public before the end of the year.

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