South Korea is recognized around the world for its rapid development. What is perhaps lesser known is that Korea is arguably the only country to have fully transitioned from aid recipient to aid donor. It is now actively promoting its development model abroad and belongs to the select group of countries shaping the global development agenda. We sat down with Professor Iain Watson who has done extensive research on Korea as an actor in international development.
Iain Watson is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Development and Cooperation at Ajou University in Suwon. He was visiting fellow at the Center on Migration, Policy and Society at Oxford University in 2013 and worked as a consultant for RAND Corporation. Professor Watson has published extensively in a variety of academic journals. His book, “Foreign Aid and Emerging Powers”, was released this year. He previously taught politics at the University of Durham and the University of Newcastle, where he received his Ph.D.
Korea is quite happy to help states to a certain level of development, but doesn’t want those states to leapfrog too much and become economic competitors to Korea. There’s a very fine balance Korea is trying to focus on here. It wants development, it wants markets, it wants resources, but not too much competition.
The interview was conducted on December 4th, 2014 in Seoul.