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MA tööd 2018/2019

SÜGIS

The Indo-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership – an answer to China in the Indian Ocean region?”   Istikar Ali
Juhenajad: Ton Notermans, PhD; Joe Burton, PhD

The global expansion of China’s economic and infrastructure development strategy called the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) with its “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) integrating the Indian Ocean region (IOR) has pushed the rivalry between India and China further as India sees it as a geopolitical, strategic and economic threat to its own position. Japan sharing India’s concerns advocates for a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership (SSGP) grew out of joint appreciation for bilateral relations and higher degree of motivation and commitment towards closer cooperation.

The thesis follows the Indo-Japan’s SSGP to investigate through a qualitative case study using the theory of soft balancing, whether this strategic partnership can effectively counterbalance China’s initiatives in the IOR. The main conclusion is that the strategic partnership between India and Japan can counterbalance China in few areas but cannot counterbalance fully, due to the far-reaching economic might and capabilities of China. Therefore, it is recommended that India and Japan become more active with each other in economic and security cooperation, in order to lessen their economic dependence on China.

“The role of the Republic of Korea in Northeast Asia and its implications for the People’s Republic of China’s regional policy”,  Johanna Rummel
Juhendajad: Vlad Vernygora, MA; Richard Turcsányi, PhD

President Moon Jae-in took the leadership position of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 2017 amidst national confusion and political uncertainties. He quickly sought reconciliation with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to work together towards establishing closer political relations and opening a regional dialogue for peace. To determine whether the prospects for stronger political relations between the ROK-PRC are positive or negative, the thesis is first distinguishing the roles South Korea currently pursues in the Northeast Asian region through its policies and status positioning by its leader and in second, assesses the implications for China.

The theoretical framework of this research includes role theory and foreign policy analysis. Mixed methods research is conducted using qualitative content analysis and quantitative content analysis. It is concluded that based on the current geostrategic environment in Northeast Asia and the ROK-PRC relations, the building of stronger political relations is supported by rather positive prospects by the assumed roles; however, the unresolved issues in regional relations and the unstable security environment render the conclusion non-exhaustive as the prospects can change with changes in regional dynamics.