Soft Power and Bargaining Leverage on the Korean Peninsula

By Benedict Edward DeDominicis.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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The Republic of Korea (ROK) has a significant overall diplomatic bargaining leverage advantage in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in shaping international behavior to support or acquiesce to the ROK assuming sole representational legitimacy for the broader Korean nation. Aside from the ROK’s direct diplomatic bargaining leverage advantages towards the DPRK, the ROK’s indirect leverage over the DPRK is enhanced through the ROK’s power leverage in its international diplomatic interaction with the United States and the rest of the international community. Perceived influence capability over third countries is only one bargaining lever for comprehending DPRK-ROK interaction, but the source of the ROK’s ability to influence these third countries is significantly “soft-power” based. Soft power’s role may be understood in terms of public opinion, legitimacy and nationalism in affecting relevant public opinion constituencies both within the Koreas and within these third countries. South Korea’s development has made it a national growth model for the rest of the post Cold War world. Its international political influence and national economic prosperity derives partly from the Cold War political bifurcation of the Korean nation, which made the South Korean ROK state comparatively open to external cultural, economic and political influences. North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons is comprehendible as representing a compensatory bargaining leverage response.

Keywords: Soft Power, Hard Power, Smart Power, North Korea, DPRK, South Korea, ROK, United States, Nationalism, Legitimacy, Public Opinion, Bargaining, Leverage, Diplomacy, International Relations, Cold War, Hegemony, Christian, China, Russia, Neoliberal Institutional

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 10, pp.21-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 841.109KB).

Prof. Benedict Edward DeDominicis

Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of International Studies, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

Ben DeDominicis currently lives in Seoul, South Korea. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and his BA from Ohio State University. He completed a semester of study in Moscow. Dr. DeDominicis taught at the new, USAID-funded American University in Bulgaria for 15 years before taking a position at the Catholic University of Korea. His Walden University specialization includes public policy and human resource management. His research interests include Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe, Newly Independent States and Greater Middle East, American foreign policy, and the United Nations, European integration, and Korean and Northeast Asian international relations.


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