Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

Korean Oda Strategies for Resource Diplomacy towards Africa: Learn the 'Angola Mode' of Chinese Oda Strategies

Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

Korean Oda Strategies for Resource Diplomacy towards Africa: Learn the 'Angola Mode' of Chinese Oda Strategies

Article excerpt

Abstract

Due to various conflicts in MiddleEast Asia, the main global oil exporter, the procurement of energy has become more competitive in the world. In addition, the demands of newly industrialised countries such as China for resources intensify the competition in the world. However, Africa has emerged as a new strategic region for the procurement of natural resources, and following the Second World War, China has bolstered its alliance with African countries by providing its Official Development Assistance in the region. As a result, China has successfully met its resource requirements. However South Korea's ODA is mainly concentrated in Asia for geographic reasons: South Korea relies highly on imports for the procurement of resources. South Korea must provide its ODA in Africa in order to increase its self-sufficiency in resources. Then will South Korea be released from the criticism that it should transfer its ODA focus from Africa to Asia and from the lower middle-income countries to the least developed countries and other low-income countries. In a reality where the world continually experiences economic recession, South Korea should not only consider the recipients' needs but also its economic interests when it provides its ODA, a so-called win-win situation.

Key words: Resource diplomacy, Chinese ODA, Africa

INTRODUCTION

Due to the unstable circumstances of Middle East Asia, such as the Iraq war beginning in 2003, on top of the demand for oil and other natural resources from newly industrialised countries such as China and India, the price of energy and natural recourses has increased sharply. In response to high prices for oil and other natural resources, countries that must import these resources, including the Republic of Korea [hereafter South Korea], tend to compete to procure resources for the sustainable development and future of their countries. In order to secure this procurement, newly industrialised countries are increasing their foreign aid to many of the poor but natural resource-rich countries in Africa (see Klare, 2002). Chinese foreign aid, for example, has recently been greatly increased in Africa. The Chinese economy has grown rapidly during the last decades and it became an oil-importing country in 1993 (Seo, 2005). As the demand for energy and natural resources in China has explosively increased, the level of oil dependence on oil-exporting countries has also increased. As a result, China seems to be vulnerable in its procurement of energy. In response to this, China has been endeavouring to procure natural resources as a survival strategy. Chinese leaders compete with other natural resource importing countries (such as newly industrialised countries) for procurement through their natural resource strategies. Through this active natural resource diplomacy1, China has achieved a remarkable outcome.

South Korea joined the DAC in 2009, and the role of Korean Official Development Assistance (ODA) is gradually increasing in poverty alleviation, in accordance with the world trend of ODA. There is a dilemma for South Korea: should they set their ODA strategies based on the world ODA trend which is poverty alleviation or on natural resource diplomacy? Shifting the Korean ODA focus from Asia to Africa can achieve both aims and resolve the dilemma. For South Korea, it is important to look at the Chinese ODA strategies for its natural resource procurement. Resource-rich African countries, such as Cameroon, Chad, and Congo, periodically establish policies which limit the procurement of energy and other natural resources by limiting the participation of the share in multinational corporations or increasing the unit price of the share. That is, the energy and natural resource market has been worsened by the international and domestic factor of intense competition between countries which require natural resources.2

The question is why is the procurement of resources so important? …

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