How do state identities and their accompanying norms affect security behaviour especially when states consider forming alliances or alignments? Are middle powers different from great powers in their security norms and preferences? This article identifies dependency and activism as two that constitute and reproduce medium-sized states as bona fide middle powers. This article argues that, due to the identity norms of a middle power, Japan and South Korea are reluctant to form a bilateral alliance between themselves and their efforts to socialize with China do not necessarily contradict their security relationships with the United States. The first section focuses on the norm of dependency to illustrate whether Japan and South Korea sought to strengthen bilateral alignment in the event of major security crises, provoked by China and North Korea. It argues that a middle power is not disposed to strengthen alignment with another middle power in the event of a national security crisis because of its entrenched norm of dependency on a great power. The second section elaborates the norm of middle power activism. Both Japan and South Korea have engaged in diplomatic efforts to enmesh China in a number of multilateral security mechanisms in order to hedge against the relative decline of US influences in East Asia
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DOI 10.1017/s1468109913000364
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Competing Notions of Regionalism in South Korean Politics.David Hundt & Jaechun Kim - 2011 - Japanese Journal of Political Science 12 (2):251-266.

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