Sweden’s role on the Korean Peninsula: Functions, motivations, and impact

This project will examine the background, motivations, and future prospects for Sweden’s unique position on the Korean peninsula. Until 2001, Sweden was the only Western power with diplomatic representation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and it plays a central role as a third-party facilitator between the DPRK and countries such as the United States. This unique position is intriguing, yet strangely under-researched.

Despite Sweden’s role on the Korean Peninsula, only a few scholarly studies have systematically explored its historical background, present dynamics and future prospects. This project seeks to fill this gap. Through extensive interviews with current and former key players within the governments of Sweden, the US and the Republic of Korea, as well as thorough research in primary archival sources, the researchers will examine Sweden’s engagements on the Korean Peninsula from the 1950s to the present. Sweden’s role as an arbiter of relations and negotiations between the DPRK and other countries involved in the conflict on the Korean Peninsula will be studied. This research will deepen the understanding among scholars, policymakers, and the general public about this crucial and unique relationship.  

The research is undertaken by UI associated researchers Dr. Ulv HanssenDr. Benjamin Silberstein, and PhD candidates Erik Isaksson and Magnus Lundström.

Project is funded by The Korea Foundation. For more information please contact Dr. Benjamin Silberstein.


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