Interaction between Slovakia and the region of East Asia offers plenty of opportunities for Slovak businesses to export or invest abroad, yet due to lack of resources, Slovakia has been unable to maintain close relations with every partner in this region. In his contribution to the Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2019, Matěj Šimalčík describes Slovakia‘s approach and relations towards East Asia in 2019.
In recent years, the international system has seen a gradual shifting of the geopolitical and geo-economic centers of gravity. China’s growing power and rising assertiveness under the rule of Xi Jinping, the US trade war with China, and the ever-present threat of North Korea’s nuclear program suggest that the geopolitical shift has been following an eastward vector. This means the most important global processes, which will shape the world in the upcoming decades, are taking place in the Indo-Pacific region.
East Asia has been notably absent from Slovakia’s foreign policy thinking, and barely mentioned in its strategic documents beyond the perceived economic opportunities for Slovak economic diplomacy.
However, as the countries located in the region are playing an increasingly important role in the shaping of global affairs (partly due to US isolationism under President Donald Trump and internal incoherence within the EU), the region warrants more attention within Slovakia’s overall approach to foreign policy.
The lack of strategic thinking on East Asia means that most policymakers (be they politicians, diplomats or officials from other ministries) tend to see East Asia solely in economic terms, typically as a cornucopia of trade and investment opportunities. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of China.
Bearing this in mind, this chapter attempts to comprehensively assess the general trends of Slovakia’s engagement with Northeast and Southeast Asia.
Find out more in the chapter by Matej Šimalčík, published in the 2019 Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy. You can also read the full 2019 Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy on the website of Slovak Foreign Policy Association.