This course is discontinued

EAST4505 – East Asia: Security and International Relations

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

When South Korean President Kim Dae Jung received his Nobel Peace Prize in 2000, the decision of the Nobel Committee was based on appreciation of his work “to overcome more than 50 years of war and hostility between North and South Korea” and “for South Korea’s reconciliation with other neighbouring countries, especially Japan”. Why are both of Kim’s endeavours proceeding with such enormous difficulty, making little progress? How are the Cold War alliances in East Asia being realigned, and why is the belligerent anti-North Korean position of US neocons met with deep scepticism by so many in US-allied South Korea? How are historical memories used for internal political mobilizations and external diplomatic offensives by the East Asian states? These and other questions pertaining both to the Cold War alliance system in East Asia and the post-Cold War political and diplomatic realignments will be explored in this course. It will focus especially on the Japanese conservatives’ drive for gradual rearmament of Japan, the policies of Kim Dae Jung’s successors in South Korea towards the Northern neighbour, and China’s new quest for regional leadership and nationalist self-assertion – and the (ab)uses of historical memory in the context of those politics.

The students are expected to put their research into the regional perspective, even if they focus primarily on one country only.

Learning outcome

Students will

  • acquire competence in analysing political and diplomatic strategies and tactics in the context of regional and local historical legacies, economical interests, and socio-political pressures.
  • improve their abilities to critically utilize both the research literature and the current affairs publications, discern their agendas, and clearly formulate their own standpoints.
  • get a critical overview of the main theoretical approaches from the social sciences applicable for the analysis of the diplomatic relations and security problems of the East Asian region.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

See the general enrolment criteria for the MA programme option in East Asian Studies

Recommended previous knowledge

The course requires good knowledge of English. The course may be specially recommended for those, who have previously taken a 40-credits group in East Asian Studies.


Teaching is in the form of lectures and seminars. Students are to present an essay on a topic chosen in cooperation with the teacher, closely connected to the content of the course. A draft sketch of the essay is to be presented to the teacher for preliminary evaluation and collective discussion in class. In the process of collecting the materials for and writing the essay, students are offered individualized personal instruction.


The presentation of the draft is the prerequisite for later being allowed to submit the final text of the essay (semesteroppgave: ca. 10 pages, 2300 characters per page), and active participation in the discussions on each other’s draft is obligatory. The students are expected to write in English, unless otherwise agreed upon.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation, autumn semester 2009


The course is an obligatory part of the MA program in East Asian studies. It may be also chosen by the students taking other MA programs.

Facts about this course




The course was given for the last time Autumn 2010.

Teaching language