2. South Korea and the Order in Transition in East Asia

Chair: Matteo Dian (University of Bologna)
Discussant: TBD

Date: TBD
Room: TBD


Contemporary South Korea is a middle power navigating through the dangerous waters of an order transition, determined by a reconfiguration of power and authority between the main great powers of the region. Key elements of this process are the rise of China and the US will to uphold its role of leadership in Asia.
The competition between US and China is the main but not the only relevant dynamic influencing contemporary Asia. Japan, Russia and ASEAN remain significant actors for the evolution of the regional order in Asia, under the political, institutional and normative point of view.

On the one hand, this increasing regional complexity generates a number of dilemmas as well as several opportunities for middle powers such as Korea. Seoul faces the constant need to adapt their foreign policy strategy and to find a equilibrium between China, a fundamental economic partners, but also a potential disruptor or the regional order, and its main security provider, the United States. On the other hand the realities of the order transition open a window of opportunity for middle powers to contribute with their own ideas and solutions in the realm of security, regionalism and economic development.

The panel welcomes both papers dealing with the Korean role in the region as well as papers dealing with the topic of order transition in East Asia.

Key words: East Asia, South Korea, regional order, rising powers, order transition.