South Korea’s Grand Strategy: Making Its Own Destiny

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Since the end of the Cold War, South Korea has taken on a greater role in global affairs. Ramon Pacheco Pardo provides a groundbreaking analysis of South Korea’s foreign policy from its transition to democracy in the late 1980s through the present day, arguing that the country’s approach to the world constitutes a grand strategy.

This book examines the key factors and goals that shape South Korea’s long-term strategy, with analysis that brings together its diplomatic, military, economic, and soft-power components. Pacheco Pardo shows that South Korea’s fundamental aim has been to move beyond its past as a “shrimp among whales” and instead attain autonomy and freedom of action. He explores how South Korean leaders across parties and governments have pursued security, prosperity, and status. Pacheco Pardo tracks South Korea’s core relationships with North Korea, the United States, and China, and he details the country’s objectives and policies across East Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, and the rest of the world.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with past and present policy makers, this book presents an analytical account of how South Korean strategy is made and practiced. It expertly lays out South Korea’s grand strategy and, more broadly, makes a compelling case that middle powers like South Korea can implement grand strategies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherColumbia University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)9780231554930
ISBN (Print)9780231203234, 9780231203227
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Publication series

NameContemporary Asia in the World
PublisherColumbia University Press


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