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Supporting NAPCI and Trilateral Cooperation: Prospects for Korea-EU Relations


The EU Global Strategy commits the EU to work towards cooperative regional orders and to pursue an integrated approach to conflicts – two parameters that fit well with the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI), in which the EU has participated as a dialogue partner since its inception in 2014. Although the Republic of Korea’s Trustpolitik suffered a setback because of the intensification of nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the ideas for which NAPCI stands – engagement and cooperation – remain valid. The narrative might have to change, however, as will the set-up of the NAPCI process: in the long term, a combination of elements from the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Six-Party Talks, trilateral cooperation and the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue could lead to a more promising functional approach, supported by track 2 activities such as a network of think tanks. Lessons learnt from the EU’s successful mediation in the talks with Iran to settle that country’s nuclear issue could also be useful. The EU Global Strategy clearly spells out that European security and Asian prosperity are intertwined, a guarantee for further mutual engagement.

Paper presented at the international conference “Trust-building in North East Asia and the Role of the EU” organized in Rome on 21 October 2016 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the kind support of the Korea Foundation (KF).

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