War of Memories : A securitization theory approach to South Korea-Japan bilateral relations

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för öst- och sydöstasienstudier

Abstract: In contrast to a quite vast literature on the underlying external reasons for the current South Korea-Japan bilateral relationship, there is less research undertaken on the subjective contextual factors of how a nation state shape its foreign policies and create its perception of a security threat. Even less exists on the domestic debates and how these possibly influence the bilateral relationship between South Korea and Japan. To understand these domestic processes the thesis has widened the understanding of security to not only encompass the South Korean state’s perspective of Japan as a security threat or not, but also the public’s opinion and media that form part of a larger process of threat construction. By using the Copenhagen School’s (CSs) securitization theory the thesis has examine South Korean-Japanese bilateral issues that either have been securitized (named as a threat) or de-securitized during the presidency of Park Geun-hye. The thesis has used the securitization theory’s method of speech acts: of how an actor chooses to securitize or de-securitize an issue. With concrete examples of speech act processes in regard to two of the most crucial bilateral issues the thesis hopes to enrich the understanding of the paradoxical South Korea- Japan bilateral relationship.

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