South Korea's Overseas Troop Dispatch Policy



This article examines South Korea's foreign policy behaviors, focusing on its policy related to the issue of troop dispatches abroad. The analysis begins with an overview of troop dispatch overseas in international politics. After careful consideration of troop dispatch policies of other countries and the policy of South Korea, the study concludes that although there are various forms and declared objectives for Seoul's troop dispatch policy, the policy exhibits a consistent pattern: South Korea's relationships with and concern about the U.S. alliance is important; gaining economic benefits, especially winning construction projects, is an essential motivation; securing energy sources is also imperative; and Seoul's concern about its image and reputation around the world—and hence the promotion of soft power—is becoming increasingly important. The findings are both theoretically and empirically important given the lack of satisfactory research on nonmajor powers’ troop dispatch policies.