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Trump’s new security strategy

Posted December. 18, 2017 07:57,   

Updated December. 18, 2017 08:20


U.S. President Donald Trump will lay out a new National Security Strategy (NSS) on Monday (local time). The U.S. press reported Saturday that the new NSS would define China as a competitor. President Trump reportedly has grown frustrated with China’s passive stance in imposing sanctions against North Korea and resolving trade deficits since the U.S.-China summit in Mar-a-Lago in April, and the Trump administration even tends to regard China as an adversary. It is unusual for U.S. president to announce the NSS in the first year in the office, which is often thought as a barometer of the country’s international strategy.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan showed the world a blue print of the U.S. diplomacy during the Cold War by announcing the NSS for the first time in 1987. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama laid out the NSS in their second year in the office in September 2002 and May 2010, respectively. International press analyzed Trump’s announcement as a measure to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue neglected by China, a potential threat to the U.S., after the Beijing summit in November.

White House National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster, who oversaw the security strategy report with the White House, U.S Congress, think tanks and industry CEOs, said Tuesday, “China is engaging in economic aggression, challenging the rules-based economic order.” He also characterized China and Russia as “revisionist powers” that undermine the international order. Trump’s security strategy forecasts that Washington will adjust its stance to interventionism, breaking out from its “America First” policy and principle-based isolationism. Turbulence in the international order lies ahead.

In the 19th congress of the Communist Party of China, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled his intention to vie with the United States for global hegemony by declaring China’s vision to emerge as a world leader by 2050. The United States has already reified the Indo-Pacific strategy in solidarity with Japan, Australia and India to forestall Xi’s “One Belt One Road initiative.” This may render Northeast Asia into a battlefield of the United States and China in 2018. Korea that relies on U.S.-China cooperation to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis might bear the brunt of the hegemony race. The rivalry between Korea’s security alliance and biggest trade partner might strain the country’s trade and economic cooperation as well as resolution of the nuclear issue.

“Soft power,” such as cultural power, persuasive political values and legitimacy of foreign policies, other than military and economic power is a prerequisite to become the world hegemon. China still has a long way ahead to challenge the United States with its soft power. Thus, the KORUS alliance, the last bastion of Korea’s security, should be the priority even in pressure to choose a side between the two countries. Next year’s diplomatic focus would be how to deal with China that directly affects Korea’s security, economy and inter-Korean relations.