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Regional Peace Building: The Korean Peninsula and North-east Asia

10 June 2010, Centre for Asian Pacific Studies, Lingnan University

Factors Forming the Bilateral Relationship between Korea and Japan in the Post-Cold War Era
Ho-sup Kim
Professor, Chuang-Ang University

A purpose of this paper would be to analyze factors forming the nature of the relationship between Korea and Japan.  My paper would argue that there are two kinds of factors: the systemic factors and the political leadership factor.  Both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives toward the relationship between the two countries after the cold-war focus on changes of  systemic factors such as sharing perceptions of Koreans and Japanese, sharing the characteristics of liberal democratic regimes of the two countries, or disappearing the common security interests as key factors to the prospect of bilateral relationship.  However, this paper would argue that the systemic factors themselves do not determine the relationship at least for the short term, and argues that the political leadership does.  It found that instead of the rationality maximizing the national interest, the political leadership of both countries often expresses the unique interpretations of Japan's past history which results in harmful effects upon the development of bilateral relationship.

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