Between Ally and Partner

Between Ally and Partner: Korea-China Relations and the United States

Jae Ho Chung
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 200
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Between Ally and Partner
    Book Description:

    China and South Korea have come a long way since they were adversaries. The arc of their relationship since the late 1970s is an excellent model of East-West cooperation and, at the same time, highlights the growing impact of China's "rise" over its regional neighbors, including America's close allies.

    South Korea-China relations have rarely been studied as an independent theme. The accumulation of more than fifteen years of research, Between Ally and Partner reconstructs a comprehensive portrait of Sino-Korean rapprochement and examines the strategic dilemma that the rise of China has posed for South Korea and its alliance with the United States. Jae Ho Chung makes use of declassified government archives, internal reports, and opinion surveys and conducts personal interviews with Korean, Chinese, and American officials. He tackles three questions: Why did South Korea and China reconcile before the end of the cold war? How did rapprochement lay the groundwork for diplomatic normalization? And what will the intersection of security concerns and economic necessity with China mean for South Korea's relationship with its close ally, the United States?

    The implications of Sino-Korean relations go far beyond the Korean Peninsula. South Korea was caught largely unprepared, both strategically and psychologically, by China's rise, and the dilemma that South Korea now faces has crucial ramifications for many countries in Asia, where attempts to counterbalance China have been rare. Thoroughly investigated and clearly presented, this book answers critical questions concerning what kept these two countries talking and how enmity was transformed into a zeal for partnership.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51118-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 The Rise of Korea-China Relations and the United States
    (pp. 1-11)

    Throughout the summer of 2002, news media in the Republic of Korea (hereafter South Korea) flooded the country with numerous reports and articles on “China fever,” commemorating the tenth anniversary of the normalization of relations between South Korea and the People’s Republic of China (hereafter China). Seoul’s diplomatic circles held lavish receptions, and academic conferences were convened to put this historic event in perspective. At about the same time, South Korea–U.S. relations plummeted to a record low: two schoolgirls were run over by a U.S. army vehicle, which led to candlelight anti-American demonstrations throughout the country. These starkly contrasting...

  6. 2 A Sketch of Sino-Korean Relations
    (pp. 12-18)

    It is a cliché that history offers invaluable insights for social scientific inquiry and, in particular, analyses of international relations.¹ Especially when analyzing the role that feelings, emotions, sentiments, and reputations play in the realm of international affairs, the history of the nations involved must always be taken into account, and this often produces explanations that challenge and vex our rational, analytical perspective.² This is not to suggest that, in the realm of foreign affairs, states always and necessarily take into consideration their counterparts’ past behavior. It is not the “reputation” imprinted in their the “reputation” imprinted in their minds...

  7. 3 Perspectives on the Origins of the South Korea–China Rapprochement
    (pp. 19-28)

    One of the most dramatic developments in East Asia during the decade of 1980s was China’s embarkation on a reformist path. One of its effects was the gradual yet clear shift in Beijing’s policy toward the outside world in general and Seoul in particular. This dramatic shift in China’s policy toward South Korea from no policy at all to de facto trade diplomacy was politically, economically, and symbolically noteworthy, as it quietly heralded an end to the remnants of cold war antagonism, underscored the importance of East Asian economic dynamism, and highlighted the newly emerging structure of interstate relations in...

  8. 4 South Korea–China Relations Before 1988
    (pp. 29-42)

    While the bilateral relationship between South Korea and China has only been in existence for twenty-some years, it has nevertheless gone through several distinct phases of development. The particular periodization employed here highlights the evolutionary process by which the transformation of South Korea–China relations from mutual antipathy to a comprehensive, cooperative partnership has been conditioned, precipitated, cultivated, and matured over the course of the last quarter century.

    South Korea–China relations of the last twenty-five years can be divided into six phases: (1) the prerapprochement period prior to 1979; (2) the initiation phase, 1979 through 1983; (3) the expansion...

  9. 5 The Political Economy of Rapprochement, 1988–1992
    (pp. 43-55)

    Having tasted the sweet success of initial economic cooperation, China became progressively more receptive to expanding contacts, exchanges, and transactions with South Korea from 1988 through 1992. While certain limits were clearly there, emanating largely from Beijing’s perennial concern for Pyongyang, their grip gradually loosened over the years. Both the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 provided convenient pretexts for further expansion of semiofficial contact, along with the dramatic increase in both bilateral trade and South Korea’s investment in China.¹ The enormous growth of bilateral economic exchanges inevitably led to the establishment of trade...

  10. 6 The Politics of Normalization: Actors, Processes, and Issues
    (pp. 56-74)

    Whereas the literature on Sino–South Korean relations has proliferated since the early 1990s, no study has to date been available that provides detailed accounts of the intricate process by which Seoul and Beijing came to the historic decision to normalize diplomatic relations on August 24, 1992.¹ This chapter seeks to fill that void by reconstructing the hitherto largely veiled process of negotiations for diplomatic rapprochement and normalization. To do so, this study first identifies the key actors and organizations involved on both sides and then examines the political dynamics of decision making in both Beijing and Seoul. While at...

  11. 7 Beyond Normalization: South Korea and China in the Post–Cold War Era
    (pp. 75-91)

    With the normalization of relations on August 24, 1992, South Korea–China bilateralism reached a point where sustaining stable long-term cooperation was both necessary and crucial. Important to note is that the Sino–South Korean diplomatic normalization materialized at a time when the cold war structure was being dismantled around the globe and, therefore, it introduced a key uncertainty into the international relations of Northeast Asia. This chapter, focusing on Seoul-Beijing relations of the post–cold war era, asks three questions: (1) What characterized the regional dynamics of Northeast Asia during this period? (2) How did South Korea–China economic...

  12. 8 The Rise of China and the U.S.–South Korean Alliance Under Strain
    (pp. 92-107)

    The decade of 1990s began with the demise of the Soviet empire, leaving the United States searching for a new mission in Northeast Asia. While Washington had initially sought to scale down its involvement in East Asia in the early 1990s, its East Asian Strategic Initiative (EASI) was rather short-lived. The “rise of China” debate, the heightened tension across the Taiwan Strait during 1995 and 1996, North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship and missile challenges, latent irredentism, and the economic dynamism of Northeast Asia have all led the United States to reaffirm its pivotal role in the region.¹ The redefinition of American...

  13. 9 Between Dragon and Eagle: Korea at the Crossroads
    (pp. 108-122)

    Does history repeat itself? It appears so at least from the vantage point of the two Koreas, which unfortunately have been geopolitical pawns of their great-power neighbors for the last century. As Qing diplomat He Ruzhang had recommended in 1880, despite sporadic efforts directed at self-strengthening and realignment, Chosun (Korea’s official designation during the Yi Dynasty) had largely remained the last bastion of the Sinic world order.¹ “Allying with the Qing” (qinzhong) while “aligning with Japan” (jieri) and “liaising with America” (lianmei) to counter Russia did not create room for Chosun’s autonomy, but instead led to loss of sovereignty and...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 123-180)
  15. Index
    (pp. 181-186)