South Korea and Taiwan provide fruitful comparisons in political economy. During the Cold War era, they deepened their trade with Japan. However, the top political leaders in those places exhibited different levels of threat perceptions towards Japan. Why did the leaders formulate their discourse towards Japan so differently in the post-Cold War era? The role of nationalism is salient during their economic take-off periods. The motivations behind these developmental strategies and the discourse used to justify such national growth cannot be excluded from the studies of comparative politics and political economy. This article examines the political discourses of two dictators—Park Chung-hee in South Korea and Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan—and shows how they justified their policies towards Japan while establishing economic nationalism at the same time. It concludes with findings that.
Bio: Dr. Christina Lai was a post-doctoral fellow in China and the World program at Princeton University from 2015 to 2016. She received her Ph.D. in International Relations from Georgetown University, and her MA in Political Science from New York University.
Her research interests include Chinese foreign policy, East Asian security, and qualitative methods. Her works have appeared in Asian Studies Review and the Asia Times.