Date of Award

Spring 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts


This thesis examines northeast Asian regional economic integration with a case study of Sino-Korean trade. Since the Cold War, there has been an increase in regional bilateral economic cooperation. South Korea began to open its market to foreign direct investors in the 1990s. This study asks what contributes to the rise of bilateral trade and tests the following hypothesis using both qualitative and quantitative methods: If a national leader perceives growing pressure of globalization, then there is strong promotion of an integrated trade policy.

The study of Sino-Korean trade reveals that Kim Dae Jung's view on a globalized economy, which created a more competitive international market, has greatly contributed to Korea's economic cooperation with the People's Republic of China. Kim Dae Jung's economic reforms which modified the Korean market to become more accessible to the foreign investors facilitated the trade flows. Moreover, his individual effort to build a companionship with Beijing at the presidential summit also contributed to the rise of Sino-Korean bilateral trade. The Sino-Korean case study provides an implication that an individual decision maker's personal view on globalization can influence a bilateral trade relationship.