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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter evaluates international law in South Korea. The tumultuous experiences of the Korean nation in the twentieth century, within the context of international relations in Northeast Asia, has had a significant impact on South Korea’s attitude towards and practice of public international law. Joseon, as Korea was referred to in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was confronted with public international law introduced by Western imperial states that challenged the existing ‘Sinocentric’ normative system. Eventually, the devolution of the Sinocentric order led to the demise of Joseon, despite appeals to state sovereignty under public international law in the face of Japanese imperialism. This inevitably set the stage for the creation of the modern South Korean state. South Korea today is an active participant in the international legal system, in large part due to its vibrant export-oriented economy, its status as an Asian middle power, as well as its emergence as a robust democracy.

Keywords: Asia, Korea, Republic of Korea, international law, host state law, Japanese imperialism

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