Engaging the Indo-Pacific: German and Korean Perspectives on Regional Cooperation


  • A collaborative, policy-oriented research project bringing together the GIGA and the East Asia Institute in Seoul. The project aims at analysing German and Korean strategies for Indo-Pacific engagement and identifying areas for bi- and multilateral cooperation.
    Korea Foundation, 2022

    Head

    Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies / Vice President

    Dr. Johannes Plagemann

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Christian Wirth

    Research Fellow


    Research Questions

    * How have Germany and the Republic of Korea reacted to the rise of the Indo-Pacific as a strategic space?
    * How have governments in Berlin and Seoul resorted to foreign policy signalling in this regard and who have been the respective target audiences?
    * How and in which issue areas can and should Germany and the ROK cooperate in the Indo-Pacific?

    Contribution to International Research

    International research on the Indo-Pacific has burgeoned in recent years, investigating the rise of the Indo-Pacific concept and analysing how in particular the Quad countries (Australia, India, Japan and the US) have developed relevant strategies and are cooperating with each other. Not much attention has however been focussed on how Indo-Pacific-based middle powers can cooperate with external parties to help shape the Indo-Pacific order. Against the background of their respective strategies for the region, this project seeks to identify areas for fruitful cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Germany in the Indo-Pacific.

    Research Design and Methods

    Outcome-explaining process tracing to analyse the development of Indo-Pacific-related and other regionally focussed foreign policy strategies in Germany and the ROK combined with elite and expert interviews in both countries to identify areas for effective bi- and/or multilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

    Preliminary Findings

    The proposed project asks how ‘like-minded’ democracies in Europe and Asia, first and foremost Germany and the Republic of Korea, can effectively co-operate in the Indo-Pacific to advance their collective interests, also in terms of helping to establish a reformed liberal order. The project participants will first take stock of how Germany and the ROK have engaged with the strategic concept of the Indo-Pacific and how they have resorted to foreign-policy signalling in this regard. In this context we will also analyse how their respective approaches to dealing with China have evolved. The second part of the project will focus on selected issue and policy areas, viz. (a) multilateralism, (b) maritime governance and security, and (c) economic integration and connectivity, which hold promise for effective cooperation between like-minded partners in Asia and Europe. Policy recommendations for plurilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in these policy areas and beyond will be contained in briefing papers published by the EAI and the GIGA in late 2022.

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