National Commentaries

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under a Pan-Asian framework has figured highly in South Korea’s foreign policy over the last decade. The New Asia Initiative (NAI) in 2009 witnessed South Korea factoring ASEAN in its regional diplomacy, moving away from its excessive focus on Northeast Asia. Unlike ASEAN, India was never accorded a major place in South Korea’s regional diplomacy even though Seoul offered special importance to India at a bilateral level. The New Southern Policy (NSP) introduced by Moon Jae-in in the year 2017 marked a change, factoring India for the first time in Seoul’s regional diplomacy along with ASEAN. A policy to connect ASEAN and India under one framework was designed to promote a regional mode of contact to augment Seoul’s economic diplomacy. As a prime national developmental strategy of Moon Jae-in,1 the NSP was expected to explore new economic engagement through a regional policy framework, joining ASEAN and India together.

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