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Energy security: the diplomacy of South Korea in Latin America

Rita Barbieri, Yonsei University

Concerns about energy security and the need to meet growing energy demands are posing challenges to the world. In circumstances like these, a government maximizes its foreign diplomacy in the energy realm. Therefore, the current Korean administration has made energy security a national goal and has been strengthening its energy diplomacy, through deepening political exchanges as well as economic and commercial ties with energy surplus countries.

The strategic approach for energy security aims at ensuring energy supply to sustain economic growth. As a strategy to improve the energy security the current South Korean government has started to put its eyes in Latin America, through the goal of diversification of suppliers

Latin America usually is presented as an actor that would contribute in a secondary complementary manner since the relation is still weak on the commercial, political and cultural areas. Therefore, the collected data shows that Korea will continue highly dependent on Middle East, however the current situation on that region such as the Jasmine revolution and terrorist activities makes to open the debate on the consideration of those externalities and the fact that Latin America as a stable region and as one of the most important supplier of fossil fuels in the world becomes a real potentiality for Korea’s assurance of energy sources.

Hence, the use of energy diplomacy plays an essential role in order to face the competition in the Latin American region, and the local energy polices. These factors are part of the process when Korea energy policies consider Latin America, so the focus goes beyond of cultural and strictly commercial ties.

Key words: energy diplomacy, competition, energy nationalism, South Korea, Latin America.

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