“China is a strategic partner and we realistically need a partnership with Beijing,“ South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong-kun said at a strategy forum with a topic of the relationship between South Korea and the U.S. in Washington, D.C. on Monday (local time), emphasizing the importance of the relationship between South Korea and China. Former high-ranking officials of the U.S. administration raised concerns that the ROK-U.S. alliance may weaken over time and South Korea may be overlooked in the process of U.S.’s policy-making process.
In his keynote speech at the ROK-U.S. Strategic Forum co-hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank based in Washington, D.C., and the Korea Foundation (KF), Choi first highlighted the importance of the ROK-U.S. alliance. “South Korea and the U.S. are showing what a 21st-century alliance is about to the world,” he said, adding that the alliance of the two countries is leading partnership in not only security but also economy and culture.
To a question asking where South Korea stands regarding China following the speech, he said China is a strategic partner. “As with other domestic policies, foreign policies should be aligned with the needs and interests of South Koreans, especially the middle class in the country,” he said. “Trade volume with China is bigger than the U.S. and Japan combined and the beneficiaries of such a market are South Korean people,” he explained. “Dependency on various products imported from China is not only South Korean but everybody’s issue,” he said on the subject of supply chain issues.