South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s high-profile six-day visit to Central Asia last week imparted further momentum to her “Eurasia initiative," intended to deepen South Korean ties with that energy-rich but geopolitically volatile region. The trip also highlighted South Korea’s value to Washington at a time when the U.S. role and influence in the region is declining due to the ebbing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and strained relations between the United States and the other two great powers active in the region, Russia and China.
Park announced her Eurasia initiative last October. The declared goal is to remove physical and other barriers to greater economic exchanges among South Korea, other Asian countries and Europe. In Central Asia, that means building new infrastructure, increasing regional foreign investment and enhancing regional security. Other governments such as China, Russia and the United States have also been launching similar initiatives to bolster economic integration in Central Asia to help the region resume its key conduit role as a new Silk Road linking Asia and Europe.
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe Trump-Kim Summit and Beyond: What Positive Outcomes Look Like
On February 27, United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet for a second time in Hanoi in a bid to make concrete progress on their June ...
By Duyeon Kim
CommentaryIt's Time for the U.S.-South Korea Alliance to Evolve
The alliance between the United States and South Korea has, for the past six decades, been a core pillar of the U.S.-led security architecture in Northeast Asia—but in recent ...
By Kristine Lee
CommentaryPyongyang Declaration: Bringing peace to the Koreas beyond symbolism
Symbolism and atmospherics are often just as important as literal deliverables in Korean culture. This symbolic approach is not necessarily understandable to Western minds acc...
By Duyeon Kim
CommentaryCNAS Commentary: Maximum Pressure AND Engagement after the SOTU
President Donald Trump’s State of the Union pledge of "total American resolve" to denuclearize North Korea signals that we are now in a period of heightened danger in Northeas...
By Patrick M. Cronin