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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

From the Asian Value Debate to Cosmopolitanism: An Active Interpretation of the Political Thoughts of Kim Dae-jung

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2011, v.51 no.3, pp.196-222
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2011.51.3.196

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Abstract

This paper explores the significance and consequences of a rare combination of a cosmopolitan vision with an Asian identity found in the political thoughts of Kim Dae-jung, the late President of the Republic of Korea (1998-2003). The paper first clarifies: 1) the meaning of cosmopolitanism as a key concept of the paper; 2) the strategy of the reconstruction of Kim’s political thoughts; 3) the Asian value debate between President Kim and Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore; and 4) Kim’s reconstruction of Confucianism based on his idea of universal globalism. The cosmopolitan reading of the Asian value debate neither rejects nor defends Asian values as they exist but embraces these within the framework of respecting diversities and differences. Consequently, the binary opposition between East and West as well as between relativism and universalism is superseded while the Asian identity is maintained as a condition for cosmopolitan identity. Based on these discussions, the paper draws attention to the substantive field of reconciliation policy between North and South Korea, notes how Kim attempted to overcome the West-centered globalism while keeping alive Asian identity in his progressive journey from the Asian value debate through universal globalism to cosmopolitanism.

keywords
cosmopolitanism universal globalism global democracy Asian value debate reinventing Confucianism sunshine policy hegemonic globalism

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