Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's decision to enter talks on the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been a game changer in the competition over Asia Pacific free trade agreements (FTAs). His move helped to create a space for multilateral, mega-FTA competition before South Korea could fully prepare and implement its "global FTA hub strategy" predicated on bilateral deals. In this article, I provide an overview of South Korea's evolving strategies toward FTAs and explore how it has responded to the "Abe effect." My focus is on two challenges for South Korea in participating in the TPP: US geopolitical pressure once Japan entered negotiations, and the de facto FTA negotiations with Japan under the TPP. Dealing with Japan is an especially tall order given the troubled history of South Korea-Japan economic and political relations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Life-span and Life-course Studies