New Cold War of China-Russia Alliance v. US-Japan-South Korea Triangle

South Korea’s decision to purchase the US THAAD missile-defense system continues to vex China. Photo: AFP

South Korea’s decision to purchase the US THAAD missile-defense system continues to vex China. Photo: AFP

SCMP says in its report “Seoul’s tilt towards Tokyo could lead to worst-case scenario for Beijing”, “China is finding itself falling into a strategic nightmare with the first sign of a Washington-Tokyo­-Seoul military alliance at its ­doorstep after South Korea hinted it would share missile intelligence with Japan, analysts say.”

In my post “Japan Provides China with the Opportunity to Win by Diplomacy” on July 5, 2014, I said:

Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine has broken US plan to form an iron triangle of the US, Japan and South Korea for its pivot to Asia to contain China (note: the US now has to contain both China and Russia as it has driven China to Russia’s side), China has been working hard to draw South Korea to its side. For this, China has a strong weapon—North Korea.

Indeed, due to Abe’s visit and the North Korea factor, relations between China have warmed up sharply, Chinese and South Korean presidents exchanged visit. It seemed that the triangle US relies on has been thoroughly broken.

Now, as China failed to make North Korea refrain from conducting Nuclear and missile tests, South Korea, being a US ally relying on US protection, has allowed the US deployment of THAAD anti-missile system within its territories. It has thus infuriated China and Russia who feel threatened by the system.

Facing Chinese retaliation, South Korea needs the triangle for its safety. However, that is just the return to the situation before Abe’s Yasukuni visit. The iron triangle has long existed and constituted a threat to China. It was only weakened by Abe’s visit and has now returned to the status before the visit.

However, the THAAD issue has greatly strengthened Russia-China alliance in the face of the same threat, which is an alliance entirely new that has grown from Russia-China long-term historical enmity due to Obama’s pivot to Asia.

We can safely say that a new Cold War has emerged in Asia with Russia-China alliance on one side and US on the other.

In Russian and Chinese camp, there are the Central Asian and South Asian members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Among them India and Pakistan are most important. Iran may join the camp as it has shown great interest in joining the SCO. So, it seems, is Afghanistan.

There are only two Asian countries Japan and the Philippines on US side. South Korea, though is seeking closer relations with the US and Japan, may not take side with the US firmly as it has very close economic relations with China and relies on China to contain North Korea, which though disobedient to China, relies on China for its survival.

ASEAN except the Philippines has refused to take side between US and China.

From this analysis, I can see no “strategic nightmare” for China in the new Cold War.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at:

11 Comments on “New Cold War of China-Russia Alliance v. US-Japan-South Korea Triangle”

  1. johnleecan says:

    China halting all imports and exports from and to South Korea will be disastrous for the South Korean economy.

    Another but dangerous way to make the South reconsider THAAD deployment is that China should ask North Korea if they want to take South Korea back. If the North says yes, then the North should immediately and unconditionally allow Chinese soldiers and military equipment into North Kaorea’s and both armies plan an immediate invasion of the South and complete annihilation of Americans on Korea’s soil. Technically, they are still at war with one another so let’s see if the South still want the THAAD deployed. If deployment is abandoned, then the North and China should now ask the South to peacefully unify with the North on China’s terms and conditions and USA pulling out completely. If not, war is here.

    Japan should be warned that if they interfere, they will be nuke.


  2. Joseph says:

    THAAD has been something that the American tried to establish long before their quarrel with China. Not that THAAD is an effective system anyway. The THAAD deployed on Eastern Europe didn’t even stop Russian air force from harrasing American ships in the area. THAAD on South Korea would hardly stop China to enforce their ADIZ. As an American creation, it is hard for the South Korean to resist what the American put there as they have defense pact. But South Korea has been at odd with Japan on the uneasy alliance, and the American is eager to show the ‘unity’, especially with the ASEAN refused to respect US-Japan-Australia alliance, another American ‘triangle’. South Korea has lately shown their defiance greatly toward their American master, by refusing to get involved with China on Diaoyu island and SCS matters. South Korean president Park Gyeunghee, openly defied Obama’s boycott to attend Chinese 70th Anniversary of victory again Japan as the only American ‘ally’ to do so. It is not surprising that the American is desperate to show that they, at least, still have some significance left in South Korea, especially after South Korea’s blunt refusal to acknowledge the PCA ruling against China on SCS, which they consider as a stab in the back on their Dokdo island dispute with Japan. After all, South Korean economy is doing much better compared to once-prominent Japan. I would expect the American would at least make up some new scenario other than THAAD for their new ‘unity’ story. It is just like the American tried to promote the outdated F-22 after the epic failure of F-35. So far the South Korean managed to hold the THAAD off as they were not willing to share the cost of deploying the THAAD, a point for Donald Trump campaign about American ally who was not even willing to pay a cent for America ‘defending’ them. Trump made pledge that if elected, he would make this ‘ally’ pay, in which Hillary Clinton warned that if he really does, would drive this vital ‘ally’, aka South Korea, away further from the ‘alliance’. The American is actively smooching the not-interested Mongolian as well. It is not surprising if they’d generate story of another ‘triangle’ with Mongolia in the near future.


    • Chatiwan Sonsann says:

      You miss the point : To maintain a power balance and prevent the U.S. or USSR/Russia from repeating the escalation of nuclear missile crisis as in the 60s with regard to U.S.’s placement of nuclear missiles in Turkey aimed at Russia and Russia’s missiles in Cuba aimed at the U.S., it was agreed as per the START and SALT treaties to refrain from placing intermediate or short range missiles at each other’s borders. A square off of nuclear ICBM was agreed to as sufficient to deter each other from reckless behaviour that might start off a nuclear exchange.

      The THAAD missiles in Eastern Europe and now South Korea are a real national security threat to China and Russia. It is not the fact that THAAD is a an anti missile missile but the fact that such missile installations once in place, can be refitted to be an offensive nuclear missile with a short delivery time. Such refitting can be achieved in less than 24 hours with range up to 1000 miles. No nation would be crazy or so insouciant as to allow a mad man to aim his gun at his head. If America or South Korea does not stand down or back off, there will be a preemptive strike. No question about it.

      If the U.S. was ready to start a nuclear war with Russia over the Turkey/Cuban missile crisis, do you think the Chinese and the Russians will not? South Korea is the “Cuba/Turkey” now. THAAD is not in South Korea’s national interest. Are they strong enough to rise up in rebellion and overthrow the U.S.’s fifth columnists in the South Korean military and government?

      The current situation is a highly dangerous and explosive situation. Together with the South China Sea issue, Beijing now realize it must and has to adopt a firm and tough stand vis-a-vis Washington using of East Asian countries to threaten its national security. If it remains a bleeding heart, it is going suffer immeasurably in loss of life and face. It cannot allow Washington to surround and threaten China. If South Koreans and Filipinos must die, so be it. It will be their elected government’s choice.


      • Liu Pei says:

        Yep, sounds like Beijing has reached an inflection point. War is imminent.


      • Joseph says:

        Even with THAAD installed, the American won’t go and shoot down any military aircraft as they wish. It would cause open war, and it is a war that the American does not want. The American may want to incite others to make war for them where they can play their card safely, but the host nations are not that crazy. In the event of war, the THAAD would be the first casualties on the first salvo as identified threats. Even if they manage to equip them with nuclear weapons, would the Turks or the South Korean allow to fire? No one would want nuclear genocide conscience other than the American. Moreover it would make them to be obliterated on the first nuclear reprisal, which will be the end of their tiny nations. It would be on their best interest to stay neutral or at least inert if the war breaks out. Historically these countries would play support role in war rather than front line role. The Cuban crisis was a crisis because the American would fire the missiles if they were in Soviet place. The Soviet, despite all American potrayal, was not as horrible as the American. They never committed genocide the way the American did. In a sense, the Cuban crisis is nothing but American exaggeration. The THAAD is, hence, a political statement. Something to create wedges between China and the ‘unfaithful’ South Korea. But the Chinese and South Korean government must have come to an understanding about the THAAD. Otherwise we would have heard Chinese media berating South Korea, instead of Western media boasting THAAD in South Korea as their ‘advantage’ against China.


        • Chat says:

          “…. the Cuban crisis is nothing but American exaggeration.”

          Eh? And President JFK’s assasination was an exaggeration too? Better get your facts right and not twist it to suit your point of view. The first order of discussion is intellectual honesty.


  3. Mohd. Radzi says:

    The U.S. THAAD so called anti-missile system, in reality is an offensive weapon, not a defensive weapon as that Liar-in-Chief Obama would have us believe. It’s delivery time to targets in China is less than 5 minutes .. insufficient time for Chinese anti missile defences. Thus this is a very serious issue for China and Russia. As strategic positioning goes, this positioning of THAAD missiles in South Korea is unacceptable to China and Russia as it is a threat and a clear and present danger.

    There is only two ways this crisis, yes, a crisis, can be resolved : Either Seoul and Washington removes the threatening missiles or there will be a preemptive strike on Seoul on the orders of Beijing and/or Moscow. In the Cuban missile crisis, the Russians blinked and backed down. They have declared in no uncertain terms, there will not be any such standing down this time. Beijing probably understands the situation well. The insane Obama Administration will not be allowed to point a dagger at both China and Russia from South Korea.

    Obama the war-monger and obvious a neocon, have miscalculated and gone to the brink one time too many. He has crossed the red line a second time. He will be facing a co-ordinated preemptive strike from Russia and China at his so-called “missile defence shield” if the missiles are not removed. Both Mr Putin and Mr Xi has publicly asked their people to be on standby for war.

    Indeed, war, is upon us unless that insane Obama back off. I say “insane” because there’s no other words to describe this mad act of that worst President in U.S.’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fre Okin says:

      Obama should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize or get another one to shame him. Perhaps China should set one up just for him to gather world attention. Of course he won’t dare to show up!


  4. Steve says:

    During China’s Dynasty periods, Korea back then as one nation has always being regarded as a Barbaric State outside the borders of China. Both nations have never being friendly to each other although the Roots of Confucianism was introduced to the Koreans and later known as one of the most substantial influences in Korean intellectual history. Similar to the Japanese, the Koreans are intrigued by the American culture and western imperialism. However, the last three years has been the ‘silver lining’ for China and Sth Korea diplomacy with people to people exchanges and trade.

    The consequences of Korean and Vietnam war and enmity within the Korean Peninsula, will without doubt ally Sth Korea to the US. After all the Sth Korean soldiers supported the US in the Vietnam invasion. In a reality war scenario, Sth Korea, without doubt will ally with the US against China and well supported by Japan. This is a triangular nightmare for China’s security.

    According to report, President Park will be visiting Russia to ensure that the deployment of THAAD is not directed at Russia. President Park would have to be a fantastic and articulate saleswoman to convince President Putin that the second car she is selling is brand new.

    How will China set up a security network of radars, missiles and counter strategy against this ‘ironclad triangular nightmare’ is a difficult task ahead. China’s best and only reliable military alliance is Russia. Both nations without doubt need to get along well and establish a back to back ironclad military partnership without full reliance on SCO.


  5. Simon says:

    South Korea are only drawn to America but bilateral relations with Japan is not good. Their triangle alliance however always remained. Relations between China and South Korea have matured, its much better than it was 3 years ago but not as good as it was 6 months ago. Obviously THAAD dented trust between China and South Korea but the latter took pains it was not target at China. This has more to do with arms twisting by the Americans in their master and slave relationship. South Korea did not side with America, Phillipines and Japan in the recent illegal SCS ruling and Korean UN Secretary General was quick to direct the UN not to endores the Hague ruling against China.


  6. Fre Okin says:

    The South Koreans probably want to avoid paying more ‘protection money’ which Trump seek to extort from them if he become POTUS. So Park reluctantly agree to THAAD which is really designed to protect US forces in S Korea, not the S Koreans. It is pure common sense, US seek to protect her own first before protecting the South Koreans.

    So THAAD deployment is one way the South Koreans seek to appease US in exchange for no demand for ‘protection money’.