Korea's New Administration and Challenges for China's Relations with the Korean Peninsula*

By Xiao, Ren | Asian Perspective, April 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Korea's New Administration and Challenges for China's Relations with the Korean Peninsula*


Xiao, Ren, Asian Perspective


In a region as fluid and complex as Northeast Asia, Lee Myung-bak's election to the presidency of the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) will prove to be quite significant. The return of a conservative leader is an important change for Korean politics, and a new factor for regional relationships as well. During the previous two administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, ROK relations with China kept growing rapidly. Both these presidents adopted a "sunshine" policy of reconciliation, cooperation, and peace toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), especially against the backdrop of the reemerging Korean nuclear crisis. Chinese and South Korean policies largely converged on engaging with Pyongyang and inducing it to denuclearize and to open up. That approach to a great extent helped soften the Bush administration's hard-line stance and hostile policy toward the DPRK. Except for the (unnecessary) controversy over the Koguryo issue, a question of ancient history, that somehow disrupted the China- ROK relationship during 2004-2005, other aspects of the relationship mostly went very well. With a new Lee administration, will that trend continue? Will Seoul and Beijing continue to work together well to denuclearize the Korean peninsula?

The Bilateral Tango

China is, relatively speaking, unfamiliar with the entrepreneur- turned politician, Lee Myung-bak, who is a former CEO of Hyundai Construction and Engineering and a former mayor of Seoul. For China, what is at stake is a smooth transition of relations with the ROK under a new Korean administration, with the maintenance of continuity and stability. In mid-January 2008, Beijing dispatched Wang Yi, the number-two person in its foreign ministry, to Seoul in the capacity of special envoy of the Chinese government to meet with President-elect Lee and his presidential transition team. The chief purpose of Wang's trip was to become familiar with Lee and his policy thinking as well as to make preparations for a good post-Roh bilateral relationship.

Wang Yi passed on President Hu Jintao's congratulations and greetings to Lee. Likewise, President-elect Lee sent his special envoy, former chairwoman of the Grand National Party Park Geun-hye, to Beijing. She carried a letter from Lee to Hu. The Chinese side received her well and President Hu met her in person. The visits were in hope of paving the way for an orderly transition of the China-ROK relationship.

China and South Korea are two countries that are becoming increasingly interdependent. This complex interdependence has developed over the past sixteen years since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, years that witnessed conspicuous growth in every aspect of their relations. In 2004, China overtook the United States and Japan and became the ROK's largest trading partner, while the ROK became China's thirdbiggest trading partner. According to South Korean government statistics, in 2006 the two-way trade volume exceeded $134 billion, a tremendous growth from $6.3 billion in 1992. In contrast, ROK trade with Japan and the United States was $78.5 billion and $76.8 billion respectively in 2006.

Meanwhile, there are approximately 30,000 Korean companies that have invested in China. Their total investment reached $35 billion in April 2007. The two governments have set an objective for bilateral trade to reach $200 billion by 2012.1 Presently, each week there are approximately 800 flights between six South Korean cities and thirty Chinese cities. All these developments show that the relationship has reached such a degree that neither side can afford a dramatic downward spiral. That was why the emotional Koguryo controversy did not and will not undermine the relationship in a fundamental way.

The mutually beneficial relationship has further strengthened itself in recent years. During President Hu's visit to the ROK in late 2005, Seoul recognized China's full market economy status.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Korea's New Administration and Challenges for China's Relations with the Korean Peninsula*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.