This book explores Korea’s place in terms of multiple levels and domains of interaction pertaining to foreign-policy behaviors and relations with the four regional/global powers (China, Russia, Japan, and the United States). The synergy of global transformations has now brought to an end Korea’s proverbial identity and role as the helpless shrimp among whales, and both North Korea and South Korea have taken on new roles in the process of redefining and projecting their national identities. Synthetic national identity theory offers a useful perspective on change and continuity in Korea’s turbulent relationships with the great powers over the years. Following a review of Korean diplomatic history and competing theoretical approaches, along with a synthetic national-identity theory as an alternative approach, one chapter each is devoted to how Korea relates to the four powers in turn, and the book concludes with a consideration of inter-Korean relations and potential reunification.
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