The Korea Question and the Nordic Response: From War Participation to Diplomatic Recognition

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While Korea-Nordic relations predate the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Japanese occupation, developments on the Korean peninsula became an issue in the foreign policymaking of the Nordic countries first with the division of the peninsula by the two superpowers and the move of the Korea Question to the newly established United Nations. The deliberations behind the decision by the Nordic countries to act on the United Nations request for Nordic assistance in the defense of the recently established Republic of Korea was influenced not only by humanitarian issues but also, in particular, by national security considerations Nordic countries faced in the early Cold War. All three Nordic countries decided against deploying military units in the Korean War and instead decided to assist with medical resources. Nevertheless, non-military participation provided an impetus, driven to a significant degree by the individuals involved in Nordic medical assistance, to seek diplomatic normalization between the Republic of Korea and the Nordic countries, which was finally achieved in 1959.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-152
Number of pages25
JournalKorea Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017 Mar 1


  • Diplomatic recognition
  • Korea
  • Korean war
  • National medical center
  • Nordic countries

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