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Korea in a Global Context

Learn the international politics of Asia-Pacific with a focus on the United States, China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea

8,231 enrolled on this course

Korea in a global context

Korea in a Global Context

8,231 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore Korea in an international context

South Korea is at a critical juncture, particularly from global perspectives.

Understand geopolitics and security

From a geopolitical perspective, South Korea is located in Northeast Asia, a region from which almost all security tension in East Asia emerges. Consider, for example, the long-standing Sino-Japanese rivalry and the unresolved territorial disputes in the East China Sea. It is often said that the territorial disputes between Tokyo and Beijing have reached a ‘boiling point.’ Also, the persistent security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles cannot be taken lightly. Most of all, the rise of China and the United States’ “rebalance” toward Asia is likely to generate a new dimension of global power politics.

Explore regional cooperation and economy

From a global economic perspective, however, Northeast Asia is a region of cooperation and interdependence. For example, the share of intra-regional trade between China, Japan and Korea increased from 12.3% in 1990 to 22.5% in 2010. China is largest trading partner of both South Korea and Japan. South Korea is China’s third largest trading partner. In addition, two-way trade between Japan and China had reached $340 billion in 2014, and the stock of Japanese investment in China had reached $100 billion in 2014, that is $30 billion more than the next largest investor — the United States.

Contemplate the future of South Korea

South Korea faces both challenges and opportunities in such a dynamic region as East Asia. Furthermore, academics and policymakers alike tend to agree that the dominant issues of the twenty-first century would be decided in Asia-Pacific. As such, South Korea’s national interests will be shaped by how it perceives and approaches the political and economic issues of East Asia and (by extension) Asia-Pacific. At the same time, the evolving regional order and thus the 21st century global politics would be affected by how South Korea, as one of the key actors of East Asia, behaves toward other regional states.

In this respect, we aim to understand South Korea within the context of complex and important dynamics concerning global politics and the international relations of Asia-Pacific.

You will learn with Yong-Soo EUN, Professor of of Political Science and International Studies at Hanyang University, and the Editor-in-Chief Routledge Series, IR Theory and Practice in Asia.

You can find out more about this course and related issues on Yong-Soo’s homepage.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about South Korea. You may think of Korean Pop music like Gangnam Style or delicious Korean food such as Kimchi and Bul Goh Gi or rich history and traditions or superfast internet and mobile service. all of them sounds very interesting ; but in this course we will think about South Korea’s foreign and security policy and global political conditions with which Korea is faced a topic that might sound a little bit more difficult and complex than K-pop but hopefully as interesting as Gangnam Style.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds Welcome to Korea in a Global Context. My name is Yong-Soo Eun. I am an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies here at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea. Throughout this course, I will be your guide and your lead educator. South Korea is located in Northeast Asia from which almost all security tensions in East Asia Gravitate. consider for example, the long-standing Sino-Japanese rivalry and the unresolved territorial disputes in East Asia. also the legacies of The Cold War still linger on The Korean Peninsula as the division of Korea and The persistent confrontation between the two Koreas clearly demonstrate. relatedly the security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear tests and Long-Range Missiles cannot be taken lightly.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds however from international economic perspective we do have quite different pictures and stories here. for example the share of Intra-Regional Trade between South Korea, Japan and China increased from 12 percent in 1990 to 24 percent in 2014. In addition China, Japan and South Korea constitute together more than 23 percent of the global population and the three countries’ aggregate GDP account for around 20 percent of Global GDP. so in this very dynamic and important region, South Korea can play very important roles given its geographical location and technological as well as economic power. also the consider very close economic and financial relationships between China and South Korea and the strong security tie with Washington that Seoul has been maintaining.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 seconds In this course we will think about what challenges and opportunities South Korea faces and critically analyse How regional and global politics would affect and would be affected by South Korea’s external behaviour. In doing so, our focus will be placed on major state actors of the Asia-Pacific region such as the United States, China, Japan and North Korea and their foreign policy strategies and actions. once again thank you for joining this course. and I hope that you will find it interesting and useful in making better sense of South Korea’s foreign policy and global politics.

What topics will you cover?

  • Explore what challenges and opportunities South Korea faces and critically analyse how regional and global politics would affect (and would be affected by) South Korea’s external behaviour.
  • Why does the United States continue to deeply engage in Asia?
  • What does China want in Asia?
  • How likely is a conflict between Japan and China to occur?
  • How should we deal with Pyongyang’s growing nuclear and missile threats?
  • Can South Korea, as a ‘Middle power’ play a significant role in terms of bringing about peace and stability in Asia?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • In-depth knowledge of at least one topic within the field of International Relations (IR)
  • An empirical appreciation of the key contemporary issues at stake in international relations, in particular in the international politics of the Asia-Pacific region
  • A theoretical appreciation of why states behave as they do in global politics
  • Critical skills to appreciate scholarly writings on foreign policy and international politics

Who is the course for?

There are no special requirements for this course. In addition, this course is designed not for experts, but for general public interested in South Korea and its foreign policy as well as international relations.

Who will you learn with?

Hello. Please see my webpage here:

Who developed the course?

Hanyang University

Since its establishment in 1939 as South Korea’s first engineering institute, Hanyang University has been a major driving force behind Korea’s development.

  • Established

  • Location

    Seoul, South Korea
  • World ranking

    Top 150Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first two months. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$129/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 10 Jul 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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