A New Era in Korea – Minus the American Influence

President Xi of the People’s Republic of China, and a large entourage of Chinese businessmen (Alibaba, Baidu), are currently visiting South Korea. The PRC is hoping for improved business ties but this time, there is, IMHO, the possibility of a sea change on the Korean peninsula.

Why and how?

China wants to change that status quo – they want to do so through money and through a redefinition of regional security – without American influence.

First, in business, China is proposing the foundation of a $50 billion “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, first proposed by President Xi in October 2013, during a tour of Southeast Asia. This bank would have the PRC holding a fifty-percent stake in this bank and has hinted at benefits to those nations that participate and Xi’s visit to Seoul, currently under way is very much about the benefits to South Korea. (we will get to what South Korea might actually want from joining this venture shortly). South Korea has expressed an intent to become an offshore trading centre in Chinese currency (renminbi) and this current meeting is expected to address this as well.
For South Korea, this is useful and important since South Korea’s two-way trade with China was $229 billion last year, exceeding the combined value of South Korea’s trade with the U.S. and Japan. Xi told reporters after the 2013 summit that the two countries will strive to boost their trade to top $300 billion (cite). This trade has been hampered by the fact that both countries transactions have been based in US Dollars (because the Yuan and Won are not directly traded) which costs more and reflects the indirect influence of things American in Asia. A statement from South Korea’s finance ministry and central bank said the South Korean won will become directly exchangeable with the yuan, joining major currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen and euro that are convertible with the Chinese currency. The decision also makes the yuan only the second currency after the U.S. dollar that is directly convertible with the won. (cite)
China has also given consent to South Korea’s investment of tens of billions of yuan (billions of USD) in Chinese bonds and stocks. The PRC Government is encouraging businesses to invest in Korea as well. Chinese investors are highly interested in cultural content, software and real estate development, thus would explain the drive by the Korean side to have Chinese investment in the so far failed Saemangeum Project (cite) or the attempt at luring Chinese investment in the Yeosu – Dadohae Haesang National Park area, as well as some yet to be announced projects.

There is also the issue of the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the PRCs desire to exclude powers – such as the U.S. – from regional security, suggesting an arrangement, guided by the PRC that is more than a little reminiscent of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere plan of Showa Japanese origin. As reported in The Diplomat:

Xi called for the creation of a “new regional security cooperation architecture.” He proposed that CICA become “a security dialogue and cooperation platform” for all of Asia, from which countries can explore the possibility of creating a regional security framework. He further indicated that China would take a leading role in exploring the creation of a “code of conduct for regional security and [an] Asian security partnership program.”
In promoting China’s vision for a new regional security framework, Xi took specific aim at the basis for the current status quo: military alliances. Xi tied such alliances to “the outdated thinking of [the] Cold War.” “We cannot just have security for one or a few countries while leaving the rest insecure,” Xi said. “A military alliance which is targeted at a third party is not conducive to common regional security.” Xi in turn offered an alternative vision for Asia, one based on an all-inclusive regional security framework rather than individual alliances with external actors like the United States.” (cite )

The real horse dealing that is not hinted at in the Korean press (which has been very quiet yet unmistakably pro-Chinese) is how will the PRC, under Xi, will resolve the issue of reunification between the two Koreas. The South Korean Government reportedly wants substantial help from Xi for making reunification a reality – in both financial aid and in the momentum that can only come from the DPRK’s only substantial supporter. Though many believe that the PRC will likely not destabilize the DPRK, if the ROK buys into the Chinese sphere of financial and political influence, rejects the American presence in the region and further guarantees their responsibility in dealing with the potential North Korean refugee problem, I honestly don’t see how a belligerent DPRK could possibly avoid change and reunification with the southern half since it would be a matter of survival to do so.

I suppose this is logical; solving Korea’s problem long-standing problem with the north and the cost of unification, while resulting in the exit of America’s influence in Korea and pushing the US further out of the region and likely gaining more support for the egregious regional claims made by the PRC. There is little America can do about this too, since the Chinese have the means to deliver the reality of unification to South Korea and whereas the U.S. can not.

Looking into a Sino-Korean future; also worrisome is the shortage of personnel to staff the larger Korean projects and the increased likelihood that more Chinese will see living and working in Korea as business ties and opportunities grow in the future. What impact this will have on Korean society remains to be seen and considering the tremendous potential influx of money into Korea, the Korea of fifty years from now will likely be a very different one from what we observe today in terms of world view and its relationship with Europe and the US.  Some may even talk about Korea as being a Chinese colony, wistfully remembering the days when their elders talked about how Korea was really an American colony.

  • http://f5waeg.blogspot.com/ F5Waeg

    ” I honestly don’t see how a belligerent DPRK could possibly avoid change
    and reunification with the southern half since it would be a matter of
    survival to do so.”

    pshaw. Smoke and mirrors. Won’t happen until China has completely bled the north of all easily exploitable resources. The ROK leadership are fools if they think any different.

    Wait a minute. . .

  • RElgin

    The PRC does not need those resources considering the availability to the same resources elsewhere.
    The opportunities with the ROK far outweigh whatever the DPRK has to offer.

  • bigmamat

    Fine by me just don’t call us back up when they fuck you over.

  • Cham

    China’s goals are obvious. Yes, they want to push the US out of the picture in East Asia as much as possible. But it’s not as if Korea is rushing to kick and stomp the US out of the picture as soon as the Chinese come with their money.

    While it’s logical that Korean policymakers see China as an avenue to tame North Korea, I’m sure they also see the US alliance for its inherent benefits. Having ties to the US, while they can occasionally be stifling I’m sure, still would arguably allow a great degree of regional freedom to operate than a close alliance with China would. There’s a degree of anti-Americanism in Korea, but I think there are enough people who see that/think the same way.

    As for the US, clearly they feel that their presence in Asia is worth preserving. If they do feel that way, they too must act to buffer China’s moves — not necessarily for South Korea, but out of self-interest.

    The biggest gap that China is exploiting to get to Korea more and more is the Japanese-Korean divide in the US alliance. The US must be far more active in bridging that gap.

    Japan is the stronger of the two parties. If the US comes off as strict to Japan in dealing with really inconsequential “historical debates”, it’s not going to chisel cracks into the alliance in any way.

    While some may think time will eventually heal all wounds, maybe waiting for that time to arrive is not the smartest thing to do for the US right now.

  • pawikirogii

    smartly written. with that in mind, reading the following made me feel nervous for it’s manipulative undertones:

    시 주석은 4일 서울대학교 글로벌공학교육센터에서 열린 초청 강연에서 “한국과 중국은 역사적으로 위태로운 상황이 발생할 때마다 서로 도와주면서 극복했다”면서 “400년 전 임진왜란이 발발했을 때 양국 국민은 적개심을 품고 전쟁터로 같이 향했다”고 말했다.

  • redwhitedude

    Koreans don’t seem to be aware of what’s going on around them. All the other countries are wary of China but Korea is the only one that is cozying up to China and this is even without considering the US. You don’t see US pressing Philippines on returning to Subic Bay and Clark Airbase because of the troubles in the South China Sea. If they begin calling for US help then you know China pushed it too far. Koreans are just going for blind emotional historical issues. Other countries may put that aside with the Japanese to deal with China. If China succeeds Korea will be taken for a fool since it would have isolated itself. Wasn’t there an attempt on the Chinese leadership to address Japan over historical issues when they visited Germany but it was snuffed out by not going to a holocaust memorial?

    Also on the issue with NK and reunification. There is one clear difference that sadly PGH didn’t realize when she mentioned that German reunification is a model to be followed. The USSR was in a position of weakness while China on Korean issues is not. Korea could do a pretty good job cozying up to China but China may not do what Korea is hoping. PGH and the Koreans are so naive. The other thing that I find her comments on German reunification as stupid is that you pretty much are telling NKoreans that they will be treated as 2nd class Koreans. Just look at all the troubles in the eastern part of Germany.

    I see PGH as a fool for her stance with Japan and putting herself in a position where there really is no wiggle room. LMB was the model to follow not perfect but far better than PGH is doing right now.

  • RElgin

    It is far too late for “bridging gaps”. The South Korean leadership has
    quietly decided that they want Chinese money and some have their eyes
    upon the goal of unification through a Chinese-made bridge.

    I hope Koreans enjoy working for their new landlords because this is only the beginning.

  • Cham

    Yeah, it’s fairly clear that China sees Korea’s anti-Japanese sentiment as a very vulnerable hole in the US alliance. It’s not surprising that of all the centuries of Sino-Korean relations, he highlights the Imjin War.

    But all in all, I don’t necessarily see greater cooperation and closer ties with the Chinese from the Koreans as a bad thing.

    The writing is on the wall. China is already a major regional player. It’s not hard to imagine Chinese influence being equal to or even surpassing American power in the region down the line.

    And as much as other countries might like to think, containing or shaping a behemoth like China as they please through sheer force and antagonism will most likely just not be possible. The reality is that countries must learn to adapt to China’s rise.

    I see Korea as simply being ahead of the curve on that regard. Cooperative collaboration to build closer ties now will pay off.

    But that also doesn’t mean that Korea has to fall under Chinese suzerainty yet again. It’s a fine balancing act between the two major regional powers and Korean policymakers absolutely recognize that.

    And it’s fairly obvious that Koreans are far from ready to jump completely into China’s camp. All steps taken so far, while many have been positive for both sides, have also kept China at a distance to some degree. So all the alarm of such a thing occurring seems both premature and a little sensationalist.

    All in all, manipulative rhetoric or not, I think Koreans are more than aware of the precarious situation they are in and will act accordingly to make sure Korean interests are protected first and foremost.

  • Cham

    I think your conclusions are too hastily made and a bit on the sensationalist side.

    First, who doesn’t want Chinese money? Let’s not act as if wanting to capitalize on the rich potential Chinese markets and investors provide are inevitable signs that South Korea will forsake the US.

    Second, yes, we’re seeing greater Sino-Korean cooperation. Is that necessarily a bad thing? The reality is that China is growing and its power is growing accordingly. All countries have to adapt to that.

    Finally, what has Korea done so far in growing ties with China that should be so catastrophically alarming that we’re already opining the death of an alliance that South Korea has been so utterly reliant on for over six decades now and lamenting over a return to a Chinese suzerain?

  • redwhitedude

    The fault with China is how it is being run and that spills into the economic arena. Note how Xi Jinping is being introduced as president of PRC. He really has no business being called that since the people didn’t elect him but it was some backroom dealing among communists that decided on that. He should be called as general secretary of the CCP. All those chinese government officials using their positions to enrich themselves. The ones that are ensnared by “anti corruption” drive is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • redwhitedude

    That’s something that the DPRK will be nervous but I doubt the PRC will completely pull the plug on them.

  • Cham

    I mean, the title of president isn’t exactly one reserved for democracies. Either way, don’t forget that much of the problems that plague China plagued Korea not too long ago (and still do to some degree).

    As China develops more and more, it’s not hard to fathom that the same problems will lessen, much like it did with Korea.

  • RElgin

    You think it is simply a matter of taking money from the PRC?

  • RElgin

    Internal strife is often more potent a worry than external threats.

  • redwhitedude

    The problem is that Korea was a dictatorship that was masquerading as a democracy and everybody knew it was suppose to be a democracy. China is a one party dictatorship and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. How this will play into China’s development will be the issue in the future. But I’m wager that if the CCP insist on keeping this, things could take an unexpected turn.

  • redwhitedude

    If that internal strife blows up China could be in a weak position in much the same way that the USSR found when it had to accede to german reunification.

  • Cham

    Again, what has Korea done so far in growing ties with China that should be so catastrophically alarming that we’re already opining the death of an alliance that South Korea has been so utterly reliant on for over six decades now and lamenting over a return to a Chinese suzerain?

  • Cham

    We’ll see. I’m confident China will adapt. But either way, I just don’t buy into the idea that Korea is somehow selling out the US and the alliance with any of its current actions (nor do I see this as signs that they will do so) as some people are claiming.

  • redwhitedude

    I’m not sure if China will adapt in that way. The only way is if it lurches from crisis to crisis. I’m not sure if Korea will totally turn its back on the US either. However China is playing with the emotions of Koreans to get it on its side. There are people who benefit from the way China is being run, like those well connected with government.

  • pawikirogii

    what more is there to say? once again, smartly written.

  • pawikirogii

    ‘And as much as other countries might like to think, containing or
    shaping a behemoth like China as they please through sheer force and
    antagonism will most likely just not be possible. The reality is that
    countries must learn to adapt to China’s rise.’

    exactly, sir. no stopping china’s rise and korea would do well not to provoke china without a VERY good reason. i don’t think the koreans are as dumb as people paint them. i’m glad you see that.

  • kaizenmx

    Abe forced her hands. You are acting like this is entirely PGH’s fault for playing hardball with japan.

  • silver surfer

    China still has huge internal problems to overcome, and it’s a part of international capitalism now.

  • brier

    Is Chinese money the 대박, PGH really meant to say?

    “also worrisome is the shortage of personnel to staff the larger Korean projects and the increased likelihood that more Chinese will see living and working in Korea as business ties and opportunities grow in the future.”

    I don’t understand why this is worrisome. Am I missing some angle I should see, but am not?

  • Seoulgoodman

    “the Koreans”? As in an ethnic group you don’t belong to, eh? Talk about a Freudian slip. And you’ve been pretending to be Korean for years. Gotcha!

    😉

  • Seoulgoodman

    “Koreans don’t seem to be aware of what’s going on around them. All the
    other countries are wary of China but Korea is the only one that is
    cozying up to China and this is even without considering the US.”

    China’s a major trade partner to South Korea, and the chaebols call the shots here. It’s that simple.

  • RElgin

    Consider the increase of Chinese actually living and working here and the effect upon Korean society.
    I am not sure that this would be well received with many Koreans based upon some commentary I have read.

  • RElgin

    Do you really think that Korean politicians can act to keep Korean interests safe?

    I do not believe so for, based upon observation, they have been predictably lacking in their role as protector of anything but their own interests.

  • redwhitedude

    She back herself into a corner by saying she won’t speak with the Japanese unless they change their stance on their revisionism. That’s overdoing it and she has to lose face in order to deal with japan if say China begins to really ruffle some feathers in the region.

  • redwhitedude

    Yes, if you keep it strictly to economic affairs but what about geopolitically? It makes Korea look bad if other countries get nervous and wary of China for its actions on the South China Sea and Senkaku/Diayou dispute while Korea is the only one willing to deal with China with open arms.

    Also China also lets economic matters get affected by geopolitical considerations. If a country does something it disapproves then it penalizes companies from that country.

  • Seoulgoodman

    “It makes Korea look bad if other countries get nervous and wary of China
    for its actions on the South China Sea and Senkaku/Diayou dispute while
    Korea is the only one willing to deal with China with open arms.”

    Sure, but are you really surprised that the South Korean government doesn’t seem to give a damn about that? You’ve been here more than a couple of weeks, you know it’s always about the money here.

  • redwhitedude

    And historical issues with Japan.

  • redwhitedude

    On top of that lousy chinese manners?

  • Seoulgoodman

    To me it seems the historical issues are just a means to get leverage in negotiations with Japan and to appeal to a certain segment of the local population. They play a different game with China for obvious reasons: China rewrites history as it pleases.

  • Sumo294

    Japan has nothing to offer–both the ROK and Japan are democracies and they will continue to trade material goods. The push by Japan to rebuild their military comes from their desire to go nuclear one day and by America who can no longer realistically foot the bill to counter China’s growing regional power. The Americans will hold onto their bases in Korea as long as possible primarily because it is the most efficient check on China’s regional power base due to its inherent Geo-proximity to any maneuvers in the Asian theater. PGH is a realist and she is responding to new political realities for the sake of the ROK. Let us say that PGH meets with Abe–what exactly does Korea gain for that meeting that is not part of their already existing bilateral trade?

  • Aja Aja

    The US backing and encouraging Japan’s remlitarization to counter China, is pushing Korea towards China.

  • Sumo294

    That is not the real issue. America’s declining economic might and Japan’s economic plight coupled with the reality that China is now a new regional power is the new reality facing Korea. The ROK can go nuclear now if it really wanted to do so, but the American bases for now sufficiently deters foreign aggression. If China cannot even convince the ROK–a country not openly hostile to China–then they won’t lead anything in Asia. Their recent bungling of Vietnam is pretty indicative of how things are in their dealings with other countries. The Asian nations are closely watching HK and I think it will continue to be a massive headache for China. The younger elites are slowly beginning to realize they don’t want to rule Taiwan. When America finally leaves the ROK–South Korea must be ready to go nuclear.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Very good summary, Elgin. I appreciated it. “Influx of money into Korea”, yes. But 50years later, no even twenty years later, this point of Korean history will be named “deception”. The Chinese are not Americans. The Chinks are dirt poor. They want what Korea has. Technology, education, land, infrastructure. The Chinks will take one at a time till Koreans become dirt poor like NKs are now. It is so unfortunate all these dreams of prosperity will turn into nightmares. At the end, enslavement of Koreans by the Chinese.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Do you know Ukraine? A part of that country is heavily populated by Russians. These Russian descendents want Ukraine to accept Russian rule. The same thing can happen in Korea. If the Chinese, for example, populate Jeju Island, then they could riot demanding Jeju Island to belong to China. Many countries have civil wars, the wars fought between its own people. SK and NK are fighting one right now. Adding the Chinese, KoreanChinese are already in, can only make situation worse. A country can implode due to its own people fighting each other. Beside, like in Ukraine, it will give China to eat up SK. (do you know NK already belong to China and KJU is Xi’s dog?)

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Going nuclear is nothing if people decide to accept China as the leader. NK nuke, nobody verified it is real, is controlled by China. The whole country is controlled by China. SK can (and I think it will) become like NK. Totally controlled by China. Any pro-Japan or pro-US persons will be purged by other SKs. The Unite Koreas will become the front troops to attack Japan.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    The situation reminds me of a science fiction. Martians came to earth and they were very nice to Earth people. healing people and sharing technology. They even had a manual “How to serve humans”. Earth people thought this was a manual on how to help humans. You can guess what it really was. The Chinese will emphasize “Koreans and the Chinese are equal brothers”. The Japs said the same thing while they occupied Korea. But the reality was much different from this statement. The US, formed from various immigrants, has been very friendly toward Koreans for long time. Koreans came to believe the Chinese would be just as nice. THE CHINKS ARE NOT THE SAME AS AMERICANS! They will be more like the Japs. Enslavement, people, pure enslavement. And, taking all good things out of Korea.

  • redwhitedude

    “They play a different game with China for obvious reasons: China rewrites history as it pleases.”

    That’s why people should be wary of china especially Koreans. But Chinese know that by touching on the Japanese atrocities it is going to have emotional appeal to Koreans.. If they succeed Koreans will be taken as a tool for China. Something that Koreans should be aware.

    And the chinese sad really how they white wash Cultural revolution and Greap Leap Forward. Looks like they might repeat these mistakes and kill some more people.

  • redwhitedude

    LMB was better than PGH so far.

  • redwhitedude

    Well China’s stance on japanese atrocities has emotional appeal to Koreans plus increased business. If it were just increased business then it is no big deal because everybody is trying to do just that. Also people forget that before Japan became prominent in attacking Korea since Hideyoshi, China also tried to repeated invade Korea.

  • bumfromkorea

    I think it’s a little too early for the “Fine! Go play with your new boyfriend then! Hmph!” reaction from US…

  • Aja Aja

    Sounds like a jealous boyfriend actually.

  • redwhitedude

    Do you have to resort to racial slurs to get your point across?

  • bigmamat

    I’d say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. If Korea wants to trade their security with the US for a Chinese alliance then fine with me. Just remember one of these things is not like the other. The US already has a relationship with Korea that they know and have relied upon for more than 50 years. No matter how much we may have influenced Korea politically and economically with a US alliance they have still maintained their autonomy. Can they say the same with an increased relationship with China? Maybe I’m just one of those deluded paranoid Americans that sees Chinese imperialism behind every move that it makes. Maybe I still have a bit of cold war chill left over. China is still a communist country that arrests and kills citizens for speaking out against the government. We haven’t gotten quite that bad yet. It may indeed be an inevitability that Korea will need an increased alliance with China if it wants to maintain or even increase it’s economic abilities. In the end though Korea is still what it always was in the region a tiny country the size of Kentucky with only 50 million people sitting right next door to the largest communist nation on the planet. I may sound like a jealous boyfriend but that doesn’t mean I got thrown over for a better man.

  • redwhitedude

    The US views Japan as the key country for its asia pivot and has been key country for the entire cold war. It doesn’t want to ruffle feathers with it hence it makes that choice.

  • Aja Aja

    I see no evidence whatsoever that Korea wants to throw away its alliance with the US in favor of the Chinese. No, being friends with China does not mean relationship with the US is on the rocks. That’s what I mean when I said you sound like a paranoid jealous boyfriend, angry just because some guy is talking to his girlfriend.

  • bigmamat

    Perhaps I’m wrong and don’t know enough about any of this shit to give an educated opinion. All I know is the American economic alliance with China has not done a good god damned thing for anyone here but a precious few. All it has done is siphon off jobs from the US. If someone benefits from this partnership it sure as hell isn’t the average US citizen.

  • Seoulgoodman

    “But Chinese know that by touching on the Japanese atrocities it is going to have emotional appeal to Koreans.”

    I don’t need to tell you that the Korean government is complicit in that. It’s about money. Besides, South Koreans can be easily turned against China. The South Korean government only needs to press the matter of how China claims one of Korea’s ancient kingdoms in order to accomplish that. But, once again, since the cheabols run things here…

  • Aja Aja

    Boy you really don’t get it do you? What does China and Korea have in common? It’s not the Japanese atrocities of the past as you say it is. It’s Japan’s right wing shift and redefining the WWII history, along with Japan’s remilitarization and redefining Japan’s article 9 constitution, which has gotten both China and Korea up in arms. Not to mention that both countries have territorial squabbles with Japan. In other words, both countries have a common enemy and national interests, which is making them cooperate with each other.

  • RElgin

    People often see what they want to see.
    The South Korean Government sees the money.

  • RElgin

    You underestimate Korean and Chinese aspirations.

  • RElgin

    Funny you mention that. If there were many Chinese citizens in Korea, how easy it would be for the PRC to protect their interests …

  • RElgin

    True. Racial slurs don’t help your argument.

  • redwhitedude

    Don’t forget the Korean press as well. The chinese see an opening in this and they are taking advantage of it. It’s the situation that is made favorable towards China wooing Korea.

  • redwhitedude

    Of course both China and Korea have a common gripe against Japan but the current political situation I don’t think it is a good idea to align with China. The Chinese state now is not something that I would want to align with. They exploit this with little regard to the victims. Just look at how the Chinese are using NK eventhough it is a trainwreck of a failed state with all sorts of human rights violations going on.

  • redwhitedude

    I can’t make sense of what he is saying.

  • RElgin

    Yes, his Russian is a bit thick.

  • Cham

    And you jump towards the wildest conclusions without the slightest bit of proof.

    The amount of (unwarranted) alarm propagated by both yourself and many others here is just silly.

    If one state visit from Xi Jinping and allowing currency convertibility is all it takes to comfortably predict the death of a 60+ year alliance, it’s amazing that the US-Korean alliance has lasted this long to begin with.

    Surely it’s a flimsy and meaningless thing to begin with if that was all it took.

  • kaizenmx

    Your comparison of Korea to Ukraine makes absolutely no sense. Vietnam has significant amount of chinese population in the country, it’s the largest ethnic minority in Vietnam, yet they are very anti-china. Possibly the only authoritarian country that is very vocal about anti-china.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Maybe, but as I said, that door can be easily closed by pressing the matter of China’s claims to one of the ancient Korean kingdoms.

  • brier

    With Chinese investment, will come Chinese workers. Not the laborers working in prefab buildings in Gyeonggi-do. It will be interesting seeing how Koreans adapt to their new bosses. It is easy to protest against western bosses claiming they don’t understand us [not true], but the Chinese?

    But with the hysterics the government threw up with 20,000 English teachers amongst, how will 20 thousand Han Chinese professionals and/or rich (hiding the money) residents fair?

    Or is this an amazing opportunity for Korean-Chinese to fulfill a niche?

  • bigmamat

    Like I keep telling anyone who will listen….South Korea has bought the whole free market shit show hook line and sinker…

  • redwhitedude

    But that won’t be as pressing as an issue until reunification happens. And you know one of the parties that has to allow it to happen. If they foresee this becoming a bigger issue then they won’t allow reunification. Hence they will steer Korea to continue to focus on Japan.

  • RElgin

    Having an eye form the future does not mean anyone is jumping to conclusions. The fact is that this alliance you speak of is losing its relevance due to changing conditions.
    If this famous “balance” that is sometimes mentioned involves taking from both the US and the PRC, that will go on for just so long and there will come a time when a path is chosen that will be different from today’s status quo.
    One thing certain is that the US can not and will not deliver a solution to the division between the north and south. The PRC can and, maybe should, since it is a part of their evil legacy. IMHO, they have a blood debt to pay and funding unification is part of that payment due.

  • RElgin

    Yes, Vietnam is a very interesting place that defies description. I am not sure what to say about those guys.
    If a large Chinese community should arise in South Korea, expect them to become an issue at some point. Perhaps they will throw more rocks as the Chinese did during the Beijing Olympics, in Seoul, while the Korean Government looked the other way.

  • Aja Aja

    20,000 English teachers were given jobs by Koreans and do absolutely nothing for Korea in economic production other then taking money out of the nation. You’re comparing apples with oranges. The 20,000 Han Chinese professionals and/or rich residents will create jobs for Koreans.

  • pawikirogii

    there isn’t going to be a large population of chinese in korea. have you not noticed the suspicion foisted on the chosonjok? and they have korean blood! also, it’s still not clear to me what you are saying as far as chinese behavior towards korea. are you saying china is going to gobble it up? they’ve had two thousand years to do that and still haven’t done so. where are the manchus? korea should not antagonize the chinese without good cause. senkaku is not good cause. japan is not good cause. your encouraging belligerence is also not good cause.

    ‘do not act in haste and engage in deliberate but cautious behavior.’ yi sun pawi

  • Aja Aja

    How has places like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc etc who have seen large population movements of Chinese, are faring? Are they becoming Chinese colonies? Frankly this paranoia of anti-Chinese hatred is becoming fashionable in the west. I wonder why.

  • Aja Aja

    And the west don’t care about money? How is that the West still continue to do business with China then? To Admonish Korea for trying to do more business with China, while the West doing the same thing.. wow.. talk about hypocrisy.

  • Aja Aja

    Then why is the US still doing business with China? Stop all trade with China, boycott them, stop importing so much stuff, and stop selling them stuff and stop investing so much into their economy. Who’s fault is that? It ain’t Korea’s fault. Of course, US won’t do that, but nevertheless Americans have no problems with their double standards when they expect Koreans to stop doing business with China. Un-freaking-believable that the same Americans demanding total loyalty from Korea, won’t stop American companies from making money in China, but expect Koreans to stop from doing the same. Where does this arrogance come from?

  • Seoulgoodman

    No, what they have in common are billions of dollars in trade. Everything else is just for show and to fabricate consent.

  • Seoulgoodman

    It’s a discussion about South Korea-China relations, numbskull.

  • http://jushinjok.blogspot.com JinJoo

    Because, according to Dr Peter Navarro (author of Death by China),….:

    “…..Multinational companies from the U.S.or Europe or Japan benefit. They like the status quo, and they pay lots of money for that,and lots of lobbying money. Politicians need money at election time and money
    to get the vote…..”

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-22/q-and-a-peter-navarro-on-americas-death-by-china

  • bigmamat

    How the hell are we supposed to stop it now! Just stop buying shit all together? You don’t think the average American actually likes the fact that we can’t find anything American made anymore do you? Do you actually think we consented to this shit? I have to admit I honestly thought it might be a good thing back when that asshole Nixon reached out to China for the first time. Who knew we’d end up giving them all of our jobs and then turn around and have to buy the shit back from them. I’m not bashing the Koreans for being greedy I’m just saying they should tread lightly when they deal with China they might get more than they bargained for…

  • http://jushinjok.blogspot.com JinJoo

    “Your comparison of Korea to Ukraine makes absolutely no sense.”

    Chinese who invests 5억원 ($US500K) or more can obtain permanent resident status with the right to vote. What do you think this means?

    “Vietnam has significant amount of chinese population in the country, it’s the largest ethnic minority in Vietnam, yet they are very anti-china.”

    Haven’t the majority of Chinese escaped Vietnam during the war? Also, Vietnam, knowing what China is capable of, got rid of the pro-Chinese group straight after the war.

  • http://jushinjok.blogspot.com JinJoo

    Vietnam, ironically, excuted the pro-Chinese collaborators who helped Vietnam become the communist country.

  • Cham

    Yes, having an eye to the future doesn’t mean necessarily mean that one is jumping to conclusions.

    But there’s a difference between having an eye to the future and leaping to the furthest possible stretch of a “future” you can envision and then lamenting about this future after seeing a ridiculously small “hint” (so small it’s really not even indicative) of this future approaching.

    It’d be like if my wife was lamenting the fact that I’ll cheat on her and leave her because I went out to grab lunch with an attractive, younger female coworker during my lunch break. It’s an eye to the future driven by paranoia and massive leaps of reasoning.

    So what proof do you have that this future is something we should even be remotely afraid of at this point? What has Korea done that is so catastrophic that it’s already ringing death knells in our heads for the alliance?

  • brier

    Well I am glad you are optimistic for rich Han Chinese. Comparing the countries English proficiency from the mid 90’s to now, I would say the English teachers (most who adapt well to Korea) have done a lot, but that is my humble opinion.

  • RElgin

    Consider the question “What can an alliance with the PRC do that an alliance with the US can’t do?”
    How about more money than can be made with the US and make unification a political and financial reality?

  • Sumo294

    As soon as SK goes nuclear so will Japan. Soon Vietnam will go nuclear-followed by Malaysia–then even Singapore will build nukes. After all of that–Taiwan will go nuclear. Either everyone gets blown up or it all starts to become a civil neighborhood.

  • Sumo294

    You mean openly meet with Abe face to face? You mean they don’t have phones? You are naive if you think they have not talked to each other already.

  • Sumo294

    China also has billions of dollars in trade with Japan–sometimes its not always about the money.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Just wait and see what will happen when Japan and China get together for talks. Different message for a different audience. Such disconnect is not rare.

  • Sumo294

    The Korean culture is as of now stronger than Chinese culture–the Chinese coming to Jeju are learning Korean and they are dressing and behaving like Koreans. The ones here are self selecting as they really had little desire to live in China. The Chinese coming to Jeju defy conventional thinking about Chinese migration because they are not economic refugees nor or are they fleeing a war. The most telling sign is that the newly arrived Chinese want little to do with each other. They are living in Korean apartments and shopping at Korean stores and they send their kids to Korean schools. I doubt many will openly admit it but they are leaving China as a form silent protest be it the pollution, the political system–or simply they prefer Korean culture over their native culture.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    You’d better be careful about this nuclear card. After the US leaves and SK plays with it, then the US may allow China to take over SK to denuclearize it under the UN backing. Japan is already nuclear and SK must play it quite. Otherwise, it may quicken the demise.

  • Sumo294

    1000 nukes should be enough to discourage that line of thinking Baduk. The only other thing you need is a president who is willing to push that button and can communicate that message to relevant parties. The basic infrastructure can begin now–in terms of securing and prepping silo sites and laying the groundwork for the software to manage the missiles. I would also start by creating a small team under a full bird colonel to lay the groundwork for securing the project. The ROK should make it very clear that it can go nuclear in three to six months. Three months for untested missiles and six months for tested missiles.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    It does not advertize the fact but Japan is already nuclear. Being nuclear does not mean anything until you place it in a untraceable moving platform. Playing with nuclear card can only damage SK. The UN will name SK a rogue nation and place no trade restriction like Iran is under. SK, if it wants to play the card, it must play in quietly. Very quietly like Japan has done. Once named a rogue nation, SK can be taken over by China, Russia or Japan. The US will welcome it.

  • Sumo294

    If you go nuclear–you don’t make five nukes–that invites certain scenarios. You have to go all out for two years. If you go down that road–its all in.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    I am mad at the situation. The Chinese enslaving Koreans in the future. It is going to happen and Xi’s visit is another step toward that unavoidable eventuality. Do you object me calling the Japanese Japs? Koreans have suffered under the Japs. I as a KoreanAmerican has the right to use racial slurs. My ancestors have been treated as the slaves. I have the right!

  • Sumo294

    They have a couple of nukes–it is quite different from having 2,000 nukes all prepped and ready to fly straight out at China. Israel has a few nukes–sufficient to take care of the Muslim world if need be, but not enough to make Russia take a step back.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Tell me what you don’t understand. Are you afraid of the future where all Koreans, both SK and NK, will become slaves under China? It is coming. Koreans just do not know it. The trans-Asian railroad through Russia, China and NK? Money blinds people and SKs are tempted beyond their capability to resist. The end is near.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    “they’ve had two thousand years to do that and still haven’t done so.”
    – But if they say anything about Chinese Community Party, they will slaughtered. Is this the future you want for Koreans? Accepting Chinese rule? Like Koreans under the Japs? And, if the Chosonjok ever get any money, CC will tax it and take it. Forever in poverty and in ignorance. That is where slaves live. And, that is the future for SKs. NKs are already living it.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    So, what is better? Go nuclear and become the target to Russia, China and Japan (or even the US) or the status quo (supposed to be under the US influence and nuke umbrella, whatever that means)? Why bring a disaster upon yourself just to make dimes? Why play with your future? Just be happy where you are. Sometimes the status quo is the best thing.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    The Jolla Commies are behind it. They believe Unification is possible once SK belongs to the Chinese Empire. But once you go to the house of the poor Chinks you have to give what you have. Even to NKs. You become poor yourself. It is evident to anyone else but Koreans that anti-Japan means pro_Chinks (even pro_Ruskies). Koreans are misbehaving and that will be the end of SK. Mark my words, “Unless SK changes its course, it is done”. Death and destruction, not prosperity, await SK when it plays with wrong pals.

  • DC Musicfreak

    Korean media coverage of China is particularly weak and arguably slanted or watered down to serve chaebol needs. Then again, if the chaebol sour on China, we’ll start hearing a different tune.

  • bigmamat

    The US problem with China isn’t about immigration. The US overall Asian population is only 5%. The problem is the economic threat. Little did we know that American companies would flee to China and other parts of Asia with all of our manufacturing jobs. By the time the American people realized what was happening it was too late to stop it. It’s just good business to move your factories to place where people will work for pennies and the government will force them back to work if they protest.

  • DC Musicfreak

    This a huge stack of straw men here. Who in the US is demanding any of what you say? Not even Elgin, in his conjecture-heavy OP, is calling for that. My take is that all countries embrace China with a high degree of ambivalence, over the nature of the regime, the shadiness of its business practices, the dishonesty of its media and historiography — to name several things. Korea has particular risks that others don’t share, owing to geography and modern and ancient history and to a penchant for what I call “sadaejui geopolitical mancrushes” with major powers. What will end up saving Korea from being played badly by China is not Korean statecraft, which has been poor since Kim Daejung left the scene, but the very nature of China itself, particularly the mercantilism, which will rear its head early in this bromance and hurt even the chaebol, the biggest boosters of the relationship.

  • bigmamat

    Ok that sounds about right to me…I’m just not as inclined to go into such detail to explain the obvious.

  • bigmamat

    So Korea really is a Kimchi bitch…

  • RElgin

    . . . Incredibly weak and deliberately lacking in any depth.
    This bias vacuum is worrisome since it implies that *certain* Koreans believe they know what game they are playing.

  • RElgin

    You might say that the Korean Government needs to make sure ALL the lifeboats, on this venture, are really working, however, if President Xi really has the will and power to make this deal happen, something different may happen.

  • Sumo294

    I wish sincerely that Korea can one day be like Switzerland. A nation no one messes with because the cost of blood is just too damn high.

  • Sumo294

    Oh by the way–those pandas cost millions of bucks to keep alive–send them back as soon as possible!

  • bumfromkorea

    Well, if the response to South Korea not publicly saying “Go Fuck yourself, Xi!” immediately after Xi made the proposals in question is

    Fine by me just don’t call us back up when they fuck you over.

    and other iterations of such responses here, then I think it’s not unreasonable that the expectations of such people do involve what Aja Aja is describing here.

    As I said before, all that happened here was RElgin noting that there are powerful incentives for South Korea here (and even he mentioned all the counter-factors involved in the equation). Even the “pro-Chinese” (lol) South Korean media are saying that South Korea should navigate this situation well so that it’ll have a stronger base for its diplomacy to stand on.

    I guess what I’m saying is… chill out. Just because your girlfriend was hit on by that douchebag doesn’t mean you should go up to her face and yell “Have fun with chlamydia, you fucking slut!”

  • Koreandumbdumb

    It takes very smart people who can balance things. Right now, Koreans with anti-Japan fervor is out of balance. PGH is in the forefront it seems. She needs to keep calm head and balance things. She needs to say and do a few pro-Japan things just to balance things. Would she do it? She is not smart enough.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Korea is not the US; it does not have power – militarily, financially and friendship with other countries. So, do not even use a term like “arrogance”. One must face his situation. No delusions of grandeur. Being next to NK and China (and Japan and Russia) concentrate on survival. SKs can all die and the country can disappear on a dime. Be very smart. Very, very smart. Or, you are dead.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    The only reason SK has survived and prospered is due to the US protection. When it leaves the protection, SK is over. China (or NK or Russia or Japan) will rape and pillage SKs. You just wait and see.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    “South Korean media are saying that South Korea should navigate this
    situation well so that it’ll have a stronger base for its diplomacy to
    stand on.”
    Yeah, but very next line it says “new possibility of selling more stuff to the Chinese, peace on peninsula, common stance against Japan’s Empire aspirations..(by politically aligning with China) “. The line about caution is thrown out the window.

    Right now, all SKs are dreaming SK becoming richer with the increasing trade with China. And, many are thinking about deserting the US-Japan alliance. With the dream of Unification and unimaginable wealth, SK is a runaway train. 대박 내려다 쪽박.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Each country, Japan, the US, China, Russia, has its own interest to look after. Don’t tell how these countries to behave. They are acting on their own interest. SK must realize it is on its own when it weakens the alliance with the US. And, don’t ask the US to come back and protect SK as bigmamat wrote. You cannot have a cake and eat it too. SK must know what it is doing. Anti-Japan attitude equals pro-China move. What is Dokto? It is a piece of s***. Sex slaves? That was 80 years ago. Are you willing to risk your children’s future on what happened in long time ago? If you are, you are a fool. Even the French and the Germans are working together to build a better future for their kids. Balance people. Balance. And, always remember that a small country like Korea can disappear tomorrow and its people can all become slaves to China.

  • Sumo294

    The Korean Commies want reunification their way–but a third way is now possible with a prosperous SK at the helm. This is serious stuff Baduk–it has to considered. The possibilities must be weighed–it is a tempting dream.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Just remember what you wrote. Some people, I am sure, warned about the possibility of Korean War before it broke out. But, people like you said “we have our soldiers. We can fight and defeat NK any time. ” You have to stand by your words when things I have wrote about begin to happen. It won;t take long when people are so excited. Herd instinct, you cannot stop it.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    See Russia? The former head of secret police is running the country for almost two decades. NK’s head of secret police, whoever he is, could be the ruler in the United Koreas. He will be very pro-China (actually he is the replacement for KJU). And, into five to ten years into his regime, he will lead a war against Japan. Mucho deaths for Koreans. But that is the way Mao dealt with Chang’s troop. Kill them off in Korean war. The same way, the Chinese will kill off Korean men through the war with Japan. Unification may not be what it cracks up to be …especially for SKs. This dictator’s underlings will be future Chaebuls of Korea. Just see what is happening in China and Russia. Without the US influence, how can SK escape this all-but-certain future?

  • bumfromkorea

    No, that does not seem to be the common sentiment at all. Both the conservative and progressive media are advocating that South Korea maintain a friendly relations with China without establishing anything permanent – and even the most fringe of progressive media don’t advocate running into China’s arm at the cost of the US-Korea alliance.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    I hope some Jolla Commies, including journalists and politicians, get theirs when NK takes over.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Be more a rogue that NK? No thanks. The combined forces of China, Japan, Russia and the US (and England?) will come into the country to de-nuclearize SK. Anyone stands on their way will be blown out. When SK turns into ashes, these countries will celebrate together by killing or imprisoning any remaining SK. This can bring China and Japan closer. By showing SKs how to behave.

    Let’s be more realistic. Nuke is not the answer.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    I recommend selling them to Japan.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Hey, Korea should play a peacemaker. By painting Japan and China as war-mongers. No dokto. No sex slave. Just “Peace”.

  • Sumo294

    The pro-China faction got killed off by KJU–his uncle and everyone involved. The reason Xi is in SK is because they came to the conclusion that they do not have control over KJU. The Japanese recently made a brilliant attempt at brokering influence over the Norks that would have worked if the older brother been in power–but it was not to be.

  • Sumo294

    Well–I heard Panda steak is the most exotic must have dinner experience one could ever have in your lifetime. I wonder how you should best prepare Panda meat? Marinate it in light soy and a bit of sugar?

  • bumfromkorea

    Also, it seems that Korea is often ridiculed here for not standing up to China. Maybe when the more economically/politically stronger countries start slapping sanctions against China for what it does to its own people, they can start talking shit about how the Korean government look the other way when China or its citizens do something bad.

  • flyingsword

    Korea going to wake up some more and find that China has annexed Jeju and that Chinese troops have been moved all the way to Pyongyang to protect “historical Chinese territories…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuan_Dynasty

  • flyingsword

    Where are your facts about Japan having nuclear weapons?

  • Sumo294

    Not a fact–a possibility. Just like its thought that Taiwan has two or three strapped to F-16’s.

  • Tapp

    I’m not quite sure how you can blame the Left on this particular issue. This is less “Jolla Commie” and more PGH capitalism. I completely agree that this is a terrible long term idea, but I think you’re laying the blame at the wrong feet.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_nuclear_weapon_program
    Read between the lines. These are only published facts. If you are naive enough to think that the published media articles are all there is in real world, I am wasting my time.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    You make it into a soup doused with red pepper paste. Everything taste good with 꼬추장.

  • Tapp

    Teaching English is a form of training. I agree that 20,000 teachers employed at the lowest education requirement levels in the industry is a bad idea. Teaching English to a nation that is continuing to advance in the international marketplace is much more than “absolutely nothing”, though. If it weren’t important, I wouldn’t have adults desperately trying to learn the language they ignored in their regular schooling. Adults working with the international shipping industry in the Busan area is literally my entire clientele.

  • Tapp

    Ultimatum’s in politics always seem to hurt the one giving them more than the one receiving.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Your forefathers lived in a village for 2 000 years? Talk about lack of ambition!

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    What if you had 2 cakes? Then you could eat one and keep the other one. even better, what if you own a bakery?

  • nutchan0731 .

    as for Japan, it imagine Korea is trouble maker since Mongolian invasion. most of them were korean who were ordered and suggested invading Japan. actually many Japanese do not like
    corporate with korea because of emotional first. as for today’s situation about South korea, it looks like same 100 year’s ago . anyway whatever, south korea will lose a tust from both side. and it become a traitor from both side.

  • nutchan0731 .

    as for many countries opposed China, they see it after incident ..they plan how to get a pie in china.

  • redwhitedude

    They met under because the Obama was nudging them to meet.

  • redwhitedude

    And people have a right to shun you. How much do you think people enjoy about african americans railing about slavery all the time? It’s not that they are wrong but it does make them come across as difficult to approach and deal with.

  • redwhitedude

    She really over did it.

  • redwhitedude

    And turn a blind eye to factors that led to the Seowul disaster.

  • Guest

    True, but in China’s case it does even try to say that it is a democratic unlike some countries with presidents that are suppose to be democratic but it is a dictatorship masquerading as a democracy. Their constitution says it is a democracy.

  • redwhitedude

    Well the US did provide market access to Korea. A market that had a lot of money to be made unlike China until very recently. Add to that the knowhow something that the Chinese are trying to ripoff and steal at times.

  • Sumo294

    They were basically serfs until the last four hundred years or so–its not like they could just take off and leave. Then someone did well on the test and then our family was known as the guys who consistently produced the local magistrate. They owned land when the commies came–can you guess what happened to my land owning family then?

  • Sumo294

    If I were Japan I would have three nukes. One that could fired from a silo. One from a sub and one that can be dropped from high altitude. Enough of a deterrent to tone down the rhetoric.

  • Sumo294

    Don’t forget green onions right before serving it.

  • pawikirogii

    they’re going to have a tough time. here’s a better link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_invasions_of_Korea

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Shouldnt you be more bitter about having have to have your bones buried in the first place?

  • RElgin

    You realize that the Chinese are the reason why so many animals are going extiinct, don’t you? The rich in China are far worse than the robber barons in the US ever were:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/opinion/sunday/chinas-threat-to-wild-tigers.html

  • pawikirogii

    i like the chinese but i don’t want them in korea no matter how koreanized they appear. of course, the chosonjok are a different story. watched a show today about them. many want to live in korea. i support that even if they’re chinese koreans. their children will see themselves as koreans and koreans only. plus, it will help with the birthrate,

  • Sumo294

    We all die–dying with dignity is the best we can do on our own.

  • Sumo294

    I sense the Chinese narrative is different for Incheon but as for Jeju–I believe the Chinese are assimilating into Korea’s culture. I believe that for the most part–the ones coming to Jeju are coming here for a measure of peace and something other than Chinese culture.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Yes, and so what? To me that is more infuriating than not getting my desired burial plot.

  • Krystal Hampton

    The Great:

    The Trans-Siberian Railway will be constructed all the way to the Korean Peninsula. Can you say $$$$$? Jobs? Better stuff?

    The OK:

    The US is dying, China is not. It’s inevitable that the larger power within the area will solidify power in order not to go down with Europe or the US while the majority “influential” economies are being flushed down the toilet. What better way to save themselves but keep their currencies intact (rather than all grouped together under one currency)? Korea has been tied to China for a long time. The only time this hasn’t been that case was the time that Japan called Korea a territory. Now China only has North Korea, with South Korea under joint independent/US control.

    The Bad:

    This would make the Korean War an unjustified war. All those people (on the US side) died for nothing, and all of those North Koreans died for something. It has been the dream of Kim Il Sung to unite the two Koreas with Chinese (and Russian) assistance. This time around I don’t know if Russia will aid, but China will…and isn’t that just full circle? Just what army is going to protect this vast new area? The Chinese? (more explained in Pandora’s Box)

    The Ugly:

    South Korea will not be able to try Kim Jong Un because of the unification proceedings. China will not allow it. The Kim family would be protected. South Korea will have to take care of the humanitarian issue in North Korea. China will come to help, but I believe this will be the responsibility of the stronger Korea to deal with. The South Korean people will have to watch as their country is politically controlled (assisted) by someone else, again. This time one that’s communist rather than capitalist. These are national people. They really don’t want their country to be controlled by anyone other than themselves.

    The Pandora’s Box:

    Korea or China might wage war with Japan. Neither country liked Japan. The Japanese have waged so many wars on Chinese and Korean soil alike. Japan was one the reasons why the Korean War happened in the first place. Some Japanese enslaved some women to be prostitutes, which still weighs heavily on nationalistic South Koreans. They also have issues with islands, more so China than Korea. The fighting over the islands has been violent. The Japanese army has been only a ‘defensive’ army and not an offensive one. After WWII, Japan became really, really, pacifist. If there ever was a time to invade a country like Japan, it would be now. But, Japan is protected by the US and other allies. That could very well trigger WWIII. This is highly probable given that this area has been unstable (by a smidge). South Korea (with US military presence) has been the equalizer between China and Japan. Without South Korea to be the middle man, I’ll just leave you to figure out what could freaking happen. The Chinese Army has been on a “troop exchange” with England. I wonder why. Sometimes it’s a good thing that a US base is where it is.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27152535

    Conclusion:
    So despite this being a sorta good idea, it’s not a good idea. The economic benefits do not justify the negative political implications this would bring. This is a geo-political nightmare. This nightmare though might still happen because the US military is set to leave South Korea in 2015. I say that the treaty is extended to keep China in check. Because if we leave, we could be looking at China using military force in this area which could result in WWIII.

  • redwhitedude

    Which also explains why their fisherman have to intrude on the seas of other countries because to them “management of fishing stocks” is pretty much fishing to extinction. How about those fishermen who got caught by Philippine coast guard who not only intruded on philippine waters but were fishing species that were protected. The chinese government still has the audacity to press their claims on territorial waters via these fishermen.

  • redwhitedude

    China does whatever it feels like. Korea can do one hell of a job sucking up to China but if China sees that reunification for Korea risks them getting a public skewering over the borders and Gando issue and territorial claim just like Japan is getting skewered by the press and public in Korea over comfort women and Dokdo, guess what? They will not budge. The only surefire way that China will let this happen is if China was dealing with this in a position of weakness much the same way USSR was over Germany.

  • wangkon936

    I think Mr. Elgin’s headline and article is a bit alarmist. It’s a state visit that merely reflects the heightened importance of South Korea vis-a-vis North Korea. You have a lot of flowery words from China, which I’m sure South Korea is somewhat flattered by, but the reality is that South Korea still benefits more from being aligned with the U.S. and the West and with a China that doesn’t have nearly the influence or the prestige and won’t for the foreseeable future. Why do you think Korea, for example, negotiated FTAs with the U.S. and Europe before it did so with China?

  • RElgin

    Change is the nature of reality, though some might see little change taking place, it is happening, nonetheless.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    You know where you can stuff that extra cake or cakes from bakery. I cannot stand a person picking false with well-established daily idiom. Maybe you are not from the US.

  • Sumo294

    More kids in Korea learn to speak Japanese than Chinese. I would say you are right for now.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    There is a point in there. If you have the brain power, dig it out.

  • cactusmcharris

    He’s from Uranus, but he does have a point this time. How’s the kitten?

  • cactusmcharris

    The pandas are only still supported because they’re a cash cow, otherwise they’d be dinner in some Shanghai sumei.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    Thanks to ‘Murica.

  • RElgin

    Though there is much in the way of commerce that can be good for Korea, through trading with the PRC, there is a political reality that I really do not believe most Koreans are ready to deal with.

    The political nonsense is very thick, for one, as per the comments of Presiend Xi, while giving an address to students at Seoul National University:

    “Whenever there was a crisis, Korea and China always helped each other and overcame the crisis together, . . . four centuries ago during the Japanese invasion,” he said, people of both nations had held Japan in “enmity” and had “marched together shoulder to shoulder to the battlefields.

    Naturally, he excluded the history of China meddling in Korea since as most know, the PRC is good at revising history to suit their needs.

    I really find it telling, regarding the reports from the PRC and other sources that show that the PRC leadership is concerned that they are greatly behind in cultural power (propaganda magic), regarding “cultural content” development (why there is no Chinese “KungFu Panda”) and want more joint ventures in developing content.

    It may be that the time to change alliances has come but it will take some seriously astute leadership in Korea to navigate the best course and that is what worries me more since I have seen no such minds coming from political circles. I only see potential ferry boat captains, swayed by rhetoric and connections. I really hope I have missed someone . . .

  • piratariaazul

    “Chinese investors are highly interested in cultural content, software and real estate development”

    Of course they are.

    (1) Well, once you sell your land to the Chinese, y’all never get it back.
    (2) And they want to suck you dry on two items Korea is ahead of China (definitely on “cultural content,” arguably on software).

    What a great deal!

    Go ask any country that has dealt commercially with China, and see which one has come ahead . . . .

    Japanese companies that built factories in PRC? – Screwed (many by their own local JV partners).

    Taiwanese businessmen who did likewise? – Pushed out and gradually replaced by local PRC companies.

  • piratariaazul

    US companies that set up factories in China and exposed their $ and IP, for the vaunted “access to the Chinese market”? – LOL.

    I can’t understand why anyone still thinks that he can come out (ultimately) ahead in dealing with the PRC.

    Hint – China is not a free market where the “best company wins”. It’s a corporatist dictatorship that sees the “market” as just a means for achieving political ends. They are far more strategic than Korea, Japan, US, and the rest of the West.

    When someone knocks and says that he’s bringing gifts but will rape your wifie & daughter and pillage your house, and you hand over the key, who is it to blame?

  • Sumo294

    When Americans decide to leave bases they do it fast and quickly and without listening to arguments. America has no desire to leave Korea in the next ten years–having the ability to base stealth bombers with nukes in the ROK makes quite a statement. When you see Americans fussing over who pays for what and how much this and that should cost–its just typical ranting.

  • ChuckRamone

    Korea has had to deal with the ebb and flow of power in the region since its beginnings. That’s just the reality of being the little guy stuck between a rock and a hard place. That will never change and I think Korea has managed all this time, one way or another. Hopefully it can survive this latest sea change in the region.

  • redwhitedude

    It would be bad for Japan for US troops to leave Korea. Despite Koreans getting chilly about dealing with japan and shying away from getting into cooperative agreements in areas other than economic at least the common denominator for both is US troop presence. That will ensure that Korea won’t go all pro China or drift too much towards China in the eyes of Japan. That will temper the concern but once US troops move out Japan could get more warier.

  • redwhitedude

    Change will happen when China changes in such a way that Korea sees it as being more of a benefit instead of dealing with the US.

  • redwhitedude

    The problem with cultural content and power issue is obvious for noncommunists. It doesn’t come from some communists bureacratic propaganda campaign. Sadly the chinese have gone the communist way in this way and fallen flat on their faces and keep lamenting how they cannot out compete foreign content that keeps seeping into China.

    As to Chinese meddling unfortunately Koreans consider Japanese meddling and takeover to be more serious and fresher in their minds. If Koreans were to just let of a little of the obsession with Dokdo, comfort women, and right wing Japanese(not saying that the Koreans are wrong) and clearly take a good look at countries around them then the Chinese will be exposed for what they are trying to do. Not to mention what they are all about(Uighur issues, Tibet, illegal fishing used as proxy for sea disputes).

  • http://jushinjok.blogspot.com JinJoo

    “Koreans don’t seem to be aware of what’s going on around them…”

    Mao Zedong took distorting the people’s will and dominating the media as the essential part in turning a country over

    Korean media is already dominated by China:

    1. The media (both left and right) only talk of China’s global influence and suggestions that we should thus be in good terms with China.

    2. They attack Japan (the arch-nemesis of China) on China’s behalf.

    3. They always attempt to minimize reports of harms that China causes everywhere.

    4. They do not report the Chinese organ harvesting issues as the world does, and even if it does, it simply mouths what the Chinese government has to say, which is that there will be no organ harvesting from those subjected to the death penalty, and thus leads to the false impression that the problem is on the way to being solved.

    5. The media also portrays politicians with a good gesture towards China positively while defaming the people they are unhappy with, but Koreans do not have a clue about this matter. Probably, the reason behind this is that they are so used to spoon-feeding from the media that they cannot convey an individual and unique viewpoint towards issues, and I believe the US is also undergoing this process.

    Also distortion in Online Forums is really serious. There is an inestimable number of hired Chinese (50 Cent Party) trying to distort the public opinion by expressing views in line with the actions of the Chinese government by:

    1. Get in groups and stay connected through messengers.

    2. Post ‘opinions’ on the target article or forum in large numbers.

    3. Whenever a retort arises, attack that person who raised a different viewpoint in large numbers. A normal person would feel pressure to conform to the group’s opinion.

    4. Pull this process off throughout the internet.

    5. They also support certain politicians (eg Park Won-soon) or celebrities, products, covering up corruption, et cetera.

  • redwhitedude

    Koreans have their own reasons for attacking and picking on Japan. But they are so obsessed with it that anything negative to do with China even if reported might fall on deaf ears. Hence it is not just the press but people also have that attitude. The conduct of the press is another issue. It is functioning as if it were under a dictatorial regime exercising censorship.

  • http://jushinjok.blogspot.com JinJoo

    Please do not think I am an apologist for Japan or a pro-Japanese person. I just don’t think Koreans should focus on what Japanese had done 70 years ago. Japan is 미운나라, but not our enemy any longer. We, Koreans should know who our real enemy is.

    It is functioning as if it were under a dictatorial regime exercising censorship.

    => China’s been working on influencing every aspects of Korean ever since Korea opened the door to it in 1992.

  • TheRealKorean

    Here’s how I see the Xi’s olive branch to Korea playing out now and in the future.

    – Further deteriorate relations between Korea and Japan over matters that have occured more than 70 years ago, and very little that can be done to go back in time travel, but blame Japan, an ally of United States. Who falls for this crap? Korea. Who bases politics based on an event that took place almost a hundred years ago? Korea. Who actually takes account ancient history into their foreign policy? Korea. This is the weakness China is capitalizing on.

    – An economic reliance on China just like the good ol’ Chosun days while vastly enriching an elite Korean ruling class. You can say that United States more or less does this through the sales of weapons and large loans to countries that can’t pay it back but I never see United States claiming themselves as the master race or draw random lines on the map and start building oil rigs on it, they’ll pay you for it.

    – Pulling a Silla. By siding with the Chinese money and Chinese goals in Korea, opposition parties would be more than inclined, if it means that they would be able to attain power. As we’ve seen with previous incidents in Korea, the opposition parties do not know rock bottom, they are constantly on the strive to sink lower.

    What the future holds is unclear but it definitely is not pretty if not worse than the current deal we have with United States. We really need to close the book in the history book and stop using it to affect rational decision making progress. We really need to have all these comfort women, so called victims of history, we are truly sorry, but their frustration cannot be vented through the Korean government channel.

  • TheRealKorean

    More the reason why US will be a permanent force and Korea is desperate not to leave their security umbrella. Last time US tried to leave Korea, they almost developed a nuclear warhead.

    China would not want to see a nuclear armed South Korea and Japan. Suddenly, the whole superpower bullshit China likes to tell amongst themselves is a lot less significant.

    China needs to pull it’s own head out of it’s ass and learn to keep it’s own citizens in line because they will be first to destroy the government as soon they have the chance.

  • TheRealKorean

    One thing though, PRC has the best armchair diplomats the internet has ever seen. So much hatred and negativity from Chinese people online, it’s no wonder their own country smells of feces literally from people shitting and pissing in the streets and running over little children for insurance money.

    I think you need to know yourselves a little better before you can claim hegemony, y’all can’t even rule yourselves as a descent human being.

  • redwhitedude

    I’m just saying that Koreans are overdoing it with emotional and brainlessly bashing Japan that it plays into China’s hands. Also Japan has not been a threat to Korea since 1945. And it is only the right wing faction which is a fringe that is advocating militarism pre 1945. Koreans paint it as if all of Japan is like that. Not sure if all the influence can be attributed to China. China has the appeal of a skunk given their issues with corruption, manners, pollution, complete disregard of human rights(that is human rights according to the CCP), and its defensiveness on criticism.

  • redwhitedude

    Not sure if Korea will totally drift towards China. As soon as they get close to China they will find out what China is all about.

  • TheRealKorean

    For now, they won’t. However as much as I like PGH, she’s being a tool with the current sentiment towards Japan, it’s not really constructive.

    I can see S. Korea is just using China to influence North Korea, but I think China is aware of this and won’t go all the way.

  • redwhitedude

    That’s why I am wary. Blind Japan bashing plays into China’s hand. And the Chinese do their own thing which may/may not be in Korea’s best interest. China will probably prop up NK even Chinese may not get much in return while they can get SK to drift towards them which improves their geopolitical situation.

  • Tapp

    How crazy would it be if Korea is actually the one manipulating China? Maybe we are all severely underestimating Korean government intelligence in this situation. If you look at the arguments for China being the manipulator, each of them could be turned around and shown as PGH pulling the wool over the world’s eye. She could be the Keyser Soze of modern politics. She’s just luring Chinese money to Korea with the intention of wresting Korean company control back at a discount through a corrupt judicial system, a la Lone Star. We act like she’s naive, but maybe she’s just wily. Ya, I know… I kinda doubt it, too.

  • wangkon936

    Well, it’s also that the relationship with the U.S. is a bit of a long distance one too… whereas China is literally the boy next door.

  • bigmamat

    This is true. I personally like those kind of relationships…I don’t need someone parked on my sofa every weekend.

  • Aja Aja

    It’s not that crazy of an ideal at all. For instance, read this article, on how leveraging good will with China, has turned a very bad situation for Kumho in China, into a positive one.

    http://blog.donga.com/mannyy/archives/149

    The Chinese government at first welcomed Kumho Tire’s investments in China, then after Kumho established themselves in China, and China gained all she could from the relationship, the same Chinese government broke the contract and kicked them out without any compensation. But the latest smooching with Chariman Xi, has turned that around. Kumho will get compensated, while LG Chemical is welcomed until they too become useless to China in the future.

  • fewa50fwea0wae

    die painfully you dolt.

  • fewa50fwea0wae

    hope you end up dismembered thx.

  • Truthseed

    “And, always remember that a small country like Korea can disappear tomorrow and its people can all become slaves to China.”

    I wish it were otherwise, but your scenario seems inevitable.

  • http://www.globalasianculture.com Liz

    It’s sometimes hard to get to the bottom of China’s actual influence when there is so much Sinophobia in the press and in blogs.

    Still, if we wanted to hazard a guess about a South Korea being drawn into Chinese influence in the 21st century, we should look no further than Hong Kong and Taiwan, where locals are up in arms about China in various ways.

    (There is, of course, the absence of a homo-lingual address that will stand in the way of a kind of socio-cultural integration or exchange between the PRC and the ROK, which is not the case in HK or TW.)

    This video of HK civic protests against Beijing, will probably bring tears to your eyes. It’s a shame democracy is endangered and civic life has generally declined since 1997.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqdpth8_r2k

  • Sumo294

    Tyvm for the video link. It saddens me–what else is there to say. That kid is full of courage–I hope he does not have an “accident”.

  • RElgin

    These are brave people to stand against the system and people that have killed so many for their power and wealth.

  • Taro-nechan

    とは言え、日本は韓国と協力し合わないと単独で中国にやられちゃうよ。

    確かに韓国人はエモーショーナルし過ぎだけど、何年が経ったら落ち着くと思う。
    その時もう一回善意で良い関係を築きましょう。

  • Taro-nechan

    The way I see it, South Korea wanting to keep closer to China is South Korea’s game to get China’s approval for South Korea to absorb North Korea in case of the North’s collapse.

    However once North and South Korea are unified, United Korea will dust off China’s Goguryeo claim on almost half of the Korean peninsula. When that happens the closeness with China will vanish and ties will become much more normal.

    United Korea might actually start liking Japan more at that point since there is less need for Japanese hatred, which is about the only unifying factor between the 2 Koreas now.

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