South Korea's Trilateral Partnership with the U.S. and Japan: Lessons from the Park Chung Hee Era

South Korea's foreign relations have been characterized by the bilateral security alliance with the U.S. to deter North Korea and the economic partnership with Japan through diplomatic normalization. The basic rationale and framework of the trilateral partnership were created during the Park Chung Hee period. The Park govenment sought national security, economic growth, and self-reliance through managing its complex relationship with the U.S. and Japan vis-a-vis North Korea and China.

Now, this trilateral partnership is faced with the growing challenges of China's expanding power and influence in Asia, South Korea's sharpening historical conflicts with Japan, and North Korea's continuing nuclear ambition. As South Korea under President Park Geun-hye aims to harmonize relations with China, reset its relationship with Japan, and build trust with North Korea to prepare for the national unification, what are the lessons from the Park Chung Hee era?

This event is sponsored by the North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP), part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.

Jin Park is an executive President of Asia Future Institute and a Chair Professor at Hankook University of Foreign Studies. He is also currently a Public Policy Scholar in residence at the Wilson Center. Dr. Park served in the Korean National Assembly for 11 years, from 2002 to 2012, representing the Jong-ro district in central Seoul. As a member of the National Assembly, Dr. Park served as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Trade & Unification Committee.