Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Korea Today: Middle Sized Power

Korean government has just decided to continue imports of Iranian oil resources. When rest of the world tries to stop financing regime in Iran, Korea does what it wants. 

As today's Korea Times writes the United States will give South Korea a waiver and allow it to continue importing crude oil from Iran, without being subjected to penalty in terms of sanctions, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

A ministry official said a formal announcement will be made later this week. He said Korea and the U.S. completed their consultations and are now smoothing up the details. Korea is the fourth largest Iranian oil importer, import from Iran covers around 10 percent of Korea’s crude imports.

Ability to decide independently about major moves on the international arena counts for any country's independence and souvereignty. But the latter concept is very mild and subject to change in time and space. 

Some countries have lesser some bigger power, it all depends on variety of aspects. These are natural resources, size, population, economic development, finance, global brands or strategic gepgraphical location. 

South Korea counts for a number of the above. For USA Seoul is not only a capital under protection of the White House since the Korean War, but an ally in the region strategically situated between China and Japan. 

However major reason why Korea plays independently and basically does what it only wishes in international aspect is it's economic independence. Country that has built several global brands like Samsung, LG, Hyundai etc, that are bringing income despite of growing global economic concerns, that has citizens who prefer to buy locally manufactured goods instead of foreign cars or cloths, is a country that gathers domestic financial resources enough not to be blackmailed by any debt to a global banking institution. With this granted, despite considerably small territory ( bit under the third of Poland) Korea is undeniably a Middle Sized Power.

But in the game around Iran, West has comparative advantage. Obstacles remain as the EU plans to push ahead with an insurance ban on oil shipments from Tehran beginning July 1. Ninety percent of Asian nations’ oil shipment insurance is financed by European companies. Therefore Korean companies agreed to limit their reliance on Iranian oil sources. This situation proves that globalized world is interdependant, with few exceptions, power of country A is limited by powers of other countries and interest conflict or union of interests. 

So far, South Korea gently playing between China, Japan, USA and Russia seems to do very well. 

I promise to be more regular in my writings. I apologize those who regularly read for not updating my blog in a while. 

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