Diplomacy, trade, and South Korea’s rise to international influence

Dennis Patterson, Jangsup Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The story of South Korea’s post-armistice economic ascendance has been well documented, but its parallel rise as an influential international actor is just beginning to receive the scholarly attention it deserves. Moreover, in the work that has been produced thus far, scholars have assumed that it was its remarkable economic growth that drove South Korea’s rise to international influence. This assumption misses the important fact that South Korea was elevating itself internationally while it was still a poor nation. As we demonstrate in this paper, what is missing in existing work is that it was the diplomatic efforts of South Korean presidents early in the post-armistice period that put the country on the path to its current international influence both directly and indirectly. They did this directly by removing it from the diplomatic isolation it inherited after the Korean War, and they accomplished this indirectly by using the tools of diplomacy to expand South Korea’s trading relations, without which it would not have enjoyed the remarkable economic growth it experienced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-27
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Area Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Diplomacy
  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • United Nations
  • international status
  • trade


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