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24. South Korea  

Strong State, Successful Development

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines South Korea’s developmental state emerging from an authoritarian political base, toward its democratic openings in the 1990s. In 1945, the Korean peninsula was freed from Japanese colonial rule by the United States and the Soviet Union. It was divided into two states: communist North Korea and capitalist South Korea. Since then, South Korea has emerged as one of the success stories of economic development, with the state itself playing a major role. The chapter first considers the historical sources of South Korea’s national strength before discussing the Korean developmental state, focusing on dictatorship and national restoration. It then explores South Korea’s development policies and its transition to democracy, noting the persistence of corruption in the country despite democratic consolidation. It concludes with an assessment of the problems and challenges facing South Korea after achieving economic development over the past sixty years.


Deborah Bräutigam and Yunnan Chen

This chapter examines China’s South–South relations and how it has been shaped by the nature of the Chinese state: a highly capable, developmental state that uses an array of instruments to promote its interests. In particular, it considers how, by means of foreign aid, economic cooperation, soft power, and trade, China aspires to be seen as a responsible global power. The chapter first looks at the history behind China’s engagement with countries of the Global South and the instruments that it has employed in this regard such as foreign investment, commercial loans, and soft power tools. It shows that Chinese ties with the developing world are shaped by long-standing foreign policy principles, including non-interference in the internal affairs of others, equality, and mutual benefit, along with its embrace of globalization and the growth of its multinational corporations. The chapter concludes with an assessment of concerns regarding China’s international engagement.