Posted August. 21, 2017 08:21,
Updated August. 21, 2017 08:39
South Korea and China have marked 25 years of diplomatic ties, but bumpy roads are ahead in their relationship. The trade volume between the two countries was the 6.4 billion dollars in 1992 when they first established diplomatic ties and expanded to 274.2 billion dollars in 2013. However, the trade volume has declined for the recent four years and experts predict that it could become below 200 billion dollars this year.
The number of Chinese tourists who visited Korea was a record high last year with 8.06 million, but since April, the number has declined to one-third of last year due to the THAAD deployment issue on the Korean Peninsula. A big event to mark 20 years of diplomatic relations was held at Great Hall of the People in Beijing five years ago, but this year the two sides have decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary separately. South Korea and China established "strategic cooperative partnership" nine years ago and now the partnership seems almost meaningless.
Looking back, diplomatic ties between the two countries were good for both economically and in terms of national strategies. China was able to acquire technologies from the West and learn know-hows of market economy. South Korea contributed significantly to China's emerging into G2. South Korea could have expanded its diplomacy to socialist countries thanks to its relationship with China and former Soviet Union. South Korea laid the foundation to become the world’s 12th-largest economy by entering into the Chinese market. It is sad to see worsening relations between China and Korea.
The biggest reason was North Korea, not China and South Korea. Since the first nuclear test in 2006, North Korea’s development of nuclear program and missiles has brought the two countries in a complicated situation. As bilateral relations were enhanced and expanded, South Korea expected that it could solve the North Korea problem with the help of China, but it was wrong. China also hoped to press South Korea with tightened economic relations, which was wrong, too. The THAAD conflict has continued for over a year and it reflects the fact that the two sides have different dreams.
South Korea and China surprised the world 25 years ago by establishing diplomatic ties, and the two countries have expanded their relations to the level they could not expect. There are more in diplomatic ties between South Korea and China and THAAD is just one side of the relations. South Korea does not mention on China’s missiles or radars in its three northeast provinces that closely monitor the Korean Peninsula. Likewise, China should look forward to the future beyond the THAAD issue. If China gets through the situation, there are many chances that the two sides can cooperate in the world stage and achieve the mutually beneficial win-win gains.