“Chen Xiangyang, an associate researcher of Korea Peninsula Program at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said South Koreans are concerned that China could deceive them. He made the remark at a South Korea-China public diplomacy forum held on Wednesday in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province in China, claiming that South Korea seems to have “low self-confidence” towards China.
Co-hosted by the foreign ministries of the two neighbor countries, the forum took place for two days from Tuesday on full-fledged trust building that would prop up the bilateral ties over the next 10 years, providing an opportunity to peek into inner thoughts of China toward South Korea. South Koreans' resentment against Beijing has significantly escalated since China’s retaliation against the South’s deployment of the U.S. missile defense system called THAAD.
“The THAAD has had an enormous (negative) impact on mutual trust between South Korea and China,” Chen said. “The two sides should not cross the ‘Maginot Line’ of doing damage to each other.” He called on Beijing to “do its best” to emphasize the importance of bilateral cooperation, while urging Seoul to recognize the value of the ties.
Chinese presenters also expressed their perception that a stronger South Korea-U.S. alliance would hurt China’s national interest. “It is not that China wants South Korea to dismantle the alliance but that it is concerned over a stronger South Korea-U.S. alliance doing damage to China,” Chen argued.
“South Korea cannot ease, reduce, or abolish its alliance with the U.S. to shift (the focus of) its diplomatic policy only on its relations with China,” said Lee Ho-chul, head of the Academy of Chinese Studies at South Korea’s Incheon National University. “South Korea and China should maintain their relations on the basis of mutual understanding of such a structural condition that the two countries are facing.”
Wan-Jun Yun email@example.com