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IFANS PERSPECTIVES Walking a Fine Line between “Strategic Autonomy” and Alliance: A Perspective on Korea-China Relations amid U.S. Re-engagement with China KIM Han-kwon Upload Date 2023-10-05 Hits 543
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1. Introduction   
2. Unraveling U.S.-China Strategic Competition in Key Areas: Latest Developments and China’s Response
3. Latest Developments in the U.S.-China Dialogue and the Future of U.S.-China Relations
4. Implications for ROK’s Foreign Policy

 
Since Yoon Suk Yeol was sworn in as South Korea’s new president in May 2022, South Korean foreign policy has been grounded in reinforcement of the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance, improvement of Korea-Japan relations, and deeper security cooperation among Korea, the U.S., and Japan in the region. While it is viewed that South Korea has made remarkable strides in bolstering the ROK-U.S. alliance, mending ties with Japan, and forging stronger U.S.-Japan-Korea trilateral cooperation, the Yoon government’s efforts, amid an ever-intensifying U.S.-China strategic rivalry, have posed conundra for Korea-China relations across various domains. 
Currently, the Yoon government is adopting a phased foreign policy approach to strengthen the ROK-US alliance, improve South Korea-Japan relations, and expand the scope of Korea-China cooperation. As part of an effort to salvage Korea’s estranged relationship with China, Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Yong-sam visited Bejing to meet with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong (孙卫东) and Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong (农融). 
And Foreign Minister Park Jin’s July 14th meeting with Wang Yi (王毅), a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Jakarta was indicative of the Yoon government’s intention to maintain high-level interactions with Chinese officials. Moreover, President Yoon Suk Yeol’s meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang (李强) on September 10 at the G20 New Delhi summit marked the latest effort by the Yoon administration to maintain ties with China. 
Despite such efforts, the relationship between Korea and China continues to remain tense. The unresolved issue over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on South Korean soil continues to be a drag on the bilateral relationship, and tensions have increased in recent months in the wake of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s remarks on Taiwan issue in an exclusive interview with Reuters and the “betting” remarks made by Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming (邢海明). 
While Korea’s relationship with China remains fraught with controversies and dissonance, a notable shift in the U.S. and its key allies and partners’ approach towards China has been found since early 2023. Washington has shifted to a simultaneous pursuit of dialogue and pressure in dealing with China, and countries allied with and partnering with the U.S. are seeking dialogue with Beijing and expanding the scope of cooperation, especially in the economic domain. For Korea, renewed diplomatic exchanges between U.S. partners and China - which stand in clear contrast to the current trajectory of Korea’s relationship with China – have presented a diplomatic challenge in navigating its complicated relationship with Beijing. With this particular situation in mind, this article will delve into the latest shift in the Biden administration’s approach to China, the Chinese government’s response to U.S. pressure in key areas, and Chinese perspectives on the recent U.S. overtures for dialogue. 

* Attached the file #USChinaRelations #China #Relations #US #ROK
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