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Which country is South Korea’s ally?

Posted November. 04, 2020 07:41,   

Updated November. 04, 2020 07:41


China is asserting that entering the Korean War, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, was to safeguard “justice” and “peace,” justifying its participation in the war. It even claimed victory in the Korean War, which ended in cease fire.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Oct. 19, “The victory in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea was a victory of justice, a victory of peace and a victory of the people.” Four days later on Oct. 23, Xi said that no matter how strong a country or a military is, it will have its head broken and bleed if it harasses the weak and expand its aggression, a remark interpreted as a warning to the U.S.

China has grown rapidly over the past decade, competing against the U.S. for global supremacy. President Xi Jinping himself was only a strong candidate for the next leader 10 years ago but now he has not only reached the height of power but is ruling the country without term limits.

South Korea has concentrated on strengthening relations with China, regardless of the government’s political orientation. That is why former South Korean President Park Geun-hye attended a ceremony in Tiananmen Square celebrating the 70th anniversary of Victory Day in 2015 and the incumbent Moon Jae-in administration recently showed a lukewarm response to U.S.’ request to participate in its anti-China alliance. Nevertheless, China is advocating the Korean War, which killed 138,000 Korean soldiers, wounded 450,000 others, and sacrificed 1 million civilians, even calling it a victory of justice. There is no consideration for South Korea in China’s move.

The U.S. will likely to maintain a tough stance against China no matter who wins the election. There will not be much difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden when it comes to the U.S.’ China policy. When the U.S. presidential election is over and Washington starts to reshape its policy toward Being, it will likely to ask South Korea more baldly to choose between the U.S. and China. With only two months left in 2020, it is high time that South Korea look into alliance strategies it should take down the road.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com