South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies have been gaining significant attention in recent years as the country seeks to strengthen its presence and influence in the region. The Indo-Pacific region, spanning from the eastern coast of Africa to the western coast of the Americas, is a strategically vital area encompassing major maritime trade routes and important geopolitical dynamics.

South Korea, being a major economic power and a key player in global affairs, has recognised the importance of the Indo-Pacific region in shaping the future of international trade, security and diplomacy. With its geographical proximity and historical ties to the region, South Korea has been actively formulating and implementing strategies to enhance its engagement and cooperation with Indo-Pacific nations.

The underlying objective of South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies is to diversify its diplomatic, economic and security partnerships beyond its traditional focus on Northeast Asia. By expanding its footprint in the Indo-Pacific, South Korea aims to tap into the region’s vast economic potential, foster regional stability and strengthen its influence on global affairs.

These strategies encompass a wide range of initiatives, including economic cooperation, infrastructure development, maritime security and people-to-people exchanges. South Korea has been actively promoting initiatives such as the New Southern Policy, which aims to deepen its cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia and India, and the New Northern Policy, which seeks to enhance ties with Russia and Northeast Asian nations.

The impact of South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies on Cambodia, a country located in the heart of the region, cannot be overlooked. The Kingdom has been an important partner for South Korea, and the strengthening of their bilateral ties through these strategies can have significant implications for both countries. It can lead to increased trade and investment between the two nations, as well as enhanced cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, tourism, education and cultural exchanges.

Moreover, South Korea’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific can contribute to regional stability and security, which in turn can benefit Cambodia and other nations in the region. By actively participating in dialogue mechanisms and cooperative frameworks, South Korea can play a constructive role in addressing common challenges, including maritime disputes, non-traditional security threats and promoting a rules-based international order.

South Korea has emerged as one of Cambodia’s largest investors. Korean companies have invested in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, electronics and textiles, creating employment opportunities and promoting economic growth in Cambodia. The Korean presence in the Kingdom is particularly prominent in special economic zones, where joint ventures and collaborations have flourished.

In addition to economic cooperation, South Korea has been actively engaged in development assistance programmes in Cambodia. Through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and other initiatives, South Korea has supported projects in areas such as infrastructure development, education, healthcare and rural development. These efforts have contributed to Cambodia’s socio-economic progress and enhanced the wellbeing of its people.

In the context of Cambodia, understanding South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies is essential to analysing their impact. Located in Southeast Asia, Cambodia plays a significant role in the Indo-Pacific region due to its strategic location and close ties with major regional players. By examining South Korea’s approach to the Indo-Pacific, we can gain insights into its potential implications for the Kingdom’s economic development, security cooperation and regional diplomacy.

South Korea’s increasing engagement with Cambodia can be seen in various areas, including trade, investment, infrastructure development and people-to-people exchanges. The two countries have been deepening their economic ties, with South Korea being one of the largest foreign investors in Cambodia. Additionally, South Korean companies have been actively involved in infrastructure projects, contributing to Cambodia’s development and connectivity within the Indo-Pacific region.

In terms of the impact on Cambodia, South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies offer potential benefits for the country’s economic growth and development. Increased trade and investment opportunities, infrastructure development projects and educational exchanges can contribute to the Kingdom’s socio-economic progress. Additionally, closer cooperation with South Korea in areas such as technology transfer and innovation can enhance Cambodia’s capacity-building efforts and promote sustainable development.

Cambodia should carefully navigate its relationship with South Korea and other major powers in the Indo-Pacific region to safeguard its national interests and sovereignty. Balancing the interests of various stakeholders while maximising the benefits of South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies will be crucial for Cambodia’s long-term development and stability.

Cambodia, with its growing economy and investment-friendly policies, presents attractive opportunities for South Korean businesses. The Cambodian government has implemented various reforms to attract foreign direct investment, including the establishment of special economic zones and the streamlining of bureaucratic procedures.

The potential benefits of increased economic cooperation between the two nations are manifold. It can lead to technology transfer, knowledge sharing and capacity building, empowering Cambodia’s businesses and workforce. Moreover, it can contribute to the diversification of Cambodia’s economy, reducing its dependence on a few sectors.

For Cambodia, South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies offer opportunities to strengthen its own security capabilities. The country can benefit from South Korea’s expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, counterterrorism and disaster response. Additionally, closer security cooperation with South Korea can contribute to Cambodia’s efforts in ensuring maritime security, especially in the context of territorial disputes and illegal activities in the region’s waters.

Both South Korea and Cambodia should work towards deepening their political and diplomatic ties, as this will pave the way for stronger partnerships and collaborations on regional and global issues. South Korea’s expertise in areas such as infrastructure development and sustainable growth can greatly support Cambodia’s efforts to achieve its development goals. Fostering people-to-people exchanges through educational scholarships, cultural exchange programmes and tourism promotion will help build a foundation of mutual understanding and appreciation between the peoples of the two nations.

Seun Sam is a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

The views expressed in this article are his own. /em>