South Korea is stuck in the middle and has limited
Political geography on the Korean Peninsula has always been complex. It was historically the route of invasion of rival empires in Northeast Asia. It is often seen as a blade pointing towards the heart of China and Japan.
China and Japan, who are historical rivals, were keen to influence the developments in the peninsula.
China, Japan, and the United States have all shown an interest in the Koreas since the end of World War II.
Geopolitical issues have become more complex since the introduction of nuclear weapons. The question of how North Korea developed a nuclear program has never been fully answered. China as well as Russia both condemned North Korea after its nuclear test in 2013.
China and the US are South Korea’s two largest trading partners.
In 2015, South Korea exported goods and services worth US$137 billion to China and US$ 70 billion to the U.S. It imports US$ 90 billion and US$ 44 billion.
South Korea’s economic growth is far greater than that of North Korea. North Korea’s GDP has been estimated at US$ 40 billion, whereas South Korea’s GDP is US$ 1.4 trillion.
Sino-Korean diplomatic relations
China’s relationship has changed. Beijing and Seoul established diplomatic relations in August 1992. The relationship between China and North Korea is sometimes described as “closer than lips to teeth.”
China is now acting more aggressively against North Korea. China’s willingness and ability to support a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea for recent destabilizing behavior, as well as the possibility of freezing oil exports to North Korea in the event that the latter conducts further missile or nuclear testing, are evidence of its growing impatience.
Shen Zihua, a prominent Chinese historian, recently said that “North Korea was China’s latent opponent and South Korea might be China’s friend.”
On April 15, 2017, a military parade in Pyongyang marked the 105th birthday anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder. Damir Sagolj/Reuters
The picture is more complex. China and South Korea have a mutually advantageous economic relationship, whereas North Korea depends on China.
It may be in China’s best interest to accept North Korea’s behavior. After all, the worst-case scenario for Beijing would be a reunited Korean peninsula under a pro-US Seoul government. China’s furious reaction to South Korea’s recent decision to use the missile defense system THAAD provides ample proof of this.
South Korea’s Strategic Options
What are the options for South Korea, given the complex political geography of Korean Korea, in light of North Korea’s apparent increasing belligerence in Korea’s
As a middle power, South Korea can’t afford to alienate Korea’s Ch, ina, or Japan, for that matter. South Korea still deChina’sn U.S. militarily.
Asia-Pacific defense expert Richard Bitzinger describes South Korea’s indigenous defense industry as ” Technonationalism,” i.e., it is more concerned with” nationalist goals than “providing military equipment of high quality.
Seoul’s dependence on the U.S. is further demonstrated by the decision to station THAAD in South Korea.
South Korea also cannot afford to alienate China for economic and strategic reasons. Despite recent rhetoric by Washington, China is widely acknowledged as being absolutely crucial to the solution to the North Korean issue.
South Korea’s economic relationship with China is too lucrative for either side. China is South Korea’s biggest export market. Korea” ‘s path must, therefore, seek to achieve a balance between its strategic and economic relations. Jerry Rafertycountry’san composed the song “Stuck in the Middle” in 1972. The song “Stuck in the Middle” perfectly captures South Korea’s dilemma, stuck between a belligerent and fraternal nation and China’s great northern powers.