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The Peninsula

Building a U.S.-Korea-India Trilateral Dialogue

Published September 11, 2015
Category: South Korea

By Linda Butcher

How can we move forward with a Korea-India-U.S. trilateral dialogue?

Yesterday, the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) held a program with top experts to discuss just that.

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in India, is optimistic, stating that the political leadership of all three countries are motivated to grow and deepen relations with their counterparts.

This was echoed by Ashley Tellis of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Scott Snyder of Council on Foreign Relations, who stated that while Korea and India are natural partners and have an interest in protecting the liberal order, it is important that the U.S. is involved for multiple reasons.

Additional key points that were raised in the program included:

  • South Korea and India Live in Parallel Universes: while South Korea has been dealing with North Korea, India has been dealing with Pakistan; and both countries are working with the U.S. on its “rebalance to Asia.”
  • India views South Korea and Japan as Natural Partners: India finds that these countries have shared values and are interested in shaping the region to reflect these values.
  • Symbiotic Relationship: India and South Korea should continue to deepen their relationship for strategic, economic and cultural gains. Prime Minister Modi has already expressed interest in strengthening economic relations with South Korea as he believes India can learn from South Korea’s manufacturing achievements.

While it is clear that bilateral relations between the countries will continue to grow, the panel of experts agreed that leaders need to begin thinking about a trilateral dialogue because it is not a dialogue that will necessarily come naturally.

Linda Butcher is the Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America. The view expressed here are the author’s alone.

Photo from Michael Foley’s photostream on flickr Creative Commons.

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