Analysts warn that South Korea might face a diplomatic backlash from placing its top foreign policy focus on securing energy resources from developing nations.
So far this year South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) has assigned nearly $9 billion towards securing energy resources from the developing world, the Korea Times reported.
Professor Nam Young-sook at Ewha Women's University Graduate School of International Studies noted, "One may allege South Korea's loans and grants are focused on resource-rich nations and that this shows that it uses development assistance as a tool to fulfill its trade interests," adding that without a carefully crafted foreign policy South Korea could wind up being perceived as a "self-serving, greedy energy seeker that cares little about developing nations.”
Nam’s fears were reflected in a speech that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered on 11 June in Zambia, where she warned that a new colonialism was creeping into resource-rich Africa from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves, telling her audience, "We saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave. And when you leave, you don't leave much behind for the people who are there. We don't want to see a new colonialism in Africa."
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com