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Korea’s Regional Cooperation and ODA Policy in Asia: Performance and Challenges

  • Author Yul Kwon and Aila Yoo
  • Series22-31
  • Date2022-08-04
   The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing geopolitical conflicts have deteriorated socio-economic conditions all around the world. As developing countries in Asia have made enormous progress in economic and social development based on the stable ground for growth, the development gap within the region has also been expanded. In addition, the region’s socio-economic conditions have become worse after the pandemic. Along with the pandemic crisis, there are several issues that have negatively influenced the region’s sustainable growth, such as climate change and climate-related natural disasters, and conflicts. These multiple crises change the development needs in the region, and cannot be solved through the efforts of any sole country but must be tackled through regional cooperation.
   While Korea strengthens its strategic approach for regional economic cooperation to expand its partnership with emerging countries and its Official Development Assistance (ODA) volume is highly concentrated in Asia region, Korea still focuses on cooperation with each country based on priority countries’ Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) without any integrated regional cooperation strategy. Strengthening inclusive partnerships would be a key to reduce the development gap in the region, by supporting regional programs such as the ASEAN Connectivity and Mekong Subregion development projects. To improve policy coherence and tackle the region-wide problems, Korea should adopt an integrated regional cooperation approach by reflecting the characteristics of Asia. This study analyzes changes in the socio-economic conditions and development environment in the Asia region and provides policy implications for preparing regional cooperation strategy for Asia.
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