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Three-Decade Overview: Evolution and Current Dynamics of Russia-Republic of Korea Bilateral Relations

  • The Journal of Northeast Asia Research
  • Abbr : NEA
  • 2024, 39(1), pp.251-273
  • DOI : 10.18013/jnar.2024.39.1.008
  • Publisher : The Institute for Northeast Asia Research
  • Research Area : Social Science > Political Science > International Politics > International Relations / Cooperation
  • Received : January 10, 2024
  • Accepted : February 19, 2024
  • Published : February 28, 2024

Vadim Akulenko 1

1중앙대학교 중앙사학연구소 HK+접경인문학연구단

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This work examines the history of bilateral relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea over three decades and their current state. Throughout this extended period of progressive development, the parties have been able to build mutually beneficial cooperation aimed at peace and prosperity in East Asia. After the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the countries in 1990, Moscow hoped to receive significant investments in its economy and the development of bilateral trade from Seoul, while Seoul saw in it an opportunity to use Moscow's influence on Pyongyang. The absence of clear points of intersection of interests at the initial stage led to a decrease in the dynamics of their development by the mid-1990s. The appointment of Yevgeny Primakov as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, which changed the previous approach to foreign policy, opened a new chapter in Russian-South Korean relations. President Kim Dae-jung's Sunshine Policy aligned with Russia's interests in the region, hence Moscow supported Seoul's initiatives. With the beginning of the 2000s, a prolonged era of progressive development of bilateral relations began, closely approaching strategic partnership level. Visits by leaders of the two countries and the active development of economic and humanitarian ties opened an era of mutually beneficial cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea. However, the escalating confrontation between Russia and the West has inevitably left its mark, leading in the last two years to increasing tension and the commencement of unilateral withdrawal from cooperation by South Korea. Unfortunately, the level of bilateral relations between the countries is currently at perhaps the lowest point in the past three decades, yet it still retains its functionality. Nevertheless, cultural and scientific ties between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea continue to function and develop, fostering hope for the normalization of bilateral relations in the future, when external political conditions permit.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.