Asan in the News

[Seoul Newspaper] 2013-02-08


The “Algerian Hostage Crisis” and Korea’s Role at the UN Security Council

By Dr. Jang Ji-Hyang

Director, Middle East and North Africa Center, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies



In an opinion piece published today (February 8, 2013) by the Seoul Shinmun (Daily), Dr. Jang Ji-Hyang, Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Center at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, argues for South Korea to use its election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to develop an active and independent Middle East policy.


In light of the tragic events in the Algerian hostage crisis last month, the ongoing military intervention in Mali, and widespread political instability across much of the region, she writes that is time for Korea–as an emerging middle power–to actively support democracy and development in the post-Arab Spring Middle East.


Dr. Jang rejects the widespread belief among many Korean analysts that the pursuit of an independent Middle East policy would somehow jeopardize Korea’s alliance with the United States. She offers the cases of Turkey and Australia, who, despite their considerable differences, are key US allies who are nonetheless able to speak out on issues and pursue their own interests in the region without compromising their relations with Washington.


At a time of momentous change in the Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Jang argues that Korea has a unique opportunity to make a lasting contribution to peace and prosperity in this region. But, to do so, it must find its own voice and speak out during its short time at the Security Council.


[This article was published in Korean]