South Korea’s Middle East Policy

By December 1, 2013

Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 106

South Korea’s relations with the Middle East have changed throughout the years, from passive and indifferent to extensive and diverse. In the 1950s, South Korea’s top interests did not include the Middle East, but with the development of the South Korean economy, the region’s significance to Seoul increased markedly. South Korea must cope with a Middle East that offers billions of dollars’ worth of contracts for South Korean companies and, at the same time, is unstable due to wars and domestic turmoil.

South Korea’s Middle East policy balances political neutrality with a cautious policy towards Israel, as Seoul is concerned that political support for Israel will jeopardize its positive standing in the Middle East. The billions of dollars of contracts with the Middle East, mainly the Persian Gulf states, are too important for Seoul to risk on Israel. Military cooperation between the two countries has grown significantly, and will continue to improve as long as the United States does not constrain it.

To order a hard copy, Contact Us and provide us with your mailing address.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

Dr. Alon Levkowitz
Dr. Alon Levkowitz

Dr. Alon Levkowitz, a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is an expert on East Asian security, the Korean Peninsula, and Asian international organizations. Email: [email protected]