China Rising while the US Declining, South Korea’s Greatest Concerns


A THAAD interceptor is launched. Photo: Reuters

National Interest publishes Sandy Pho’s article “South Korea’s Greatest Fear (and It Isn’t a North Korean Invasion” on August 31 reflects South Korean people’s concerns on a rising China’s economic pressure due to the deployment of THAAD and fear that the US will not be able to protect South Korea as the US seems even unable to afford the costs of such protection.

South Korean people are unhappy about trump’s withdrawal from TPP, complaints about the U.S.-South Korea trade deficit, and calls for Seoul to pay more of the costs of having U.S. military forces in South Korea.

On the other hand, South Korea’s trade with China has risen to $300 billion greater than its trade with any others and it has substantial trade surplus with China. Moreover In 2015 Chinese travelers account for more than 50% of South Korea’s 17.2 million foreign tourists. Being big spenders, they spent nearly $13.7 billion there.

Now due to China’s opposition to the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, Chinese travelers has decreased nearly 40% and some Chinese people are boycotting South Korean products. Chinese government has created trouble for some South Korean companies involved in the deployment.

The article says, “South Koreans are frustrated over the lack of creative solutions from Washington and Beijing and deeply resent being used as a pawn in a U.S.-China regional competition.”

Indeed, it seems there is nothing South Korea can do to free itself from the predicament. It cannot survive without US nuclear and conventional military protection; therefore, there is limit to its leaders to be more active and independent in dealing with North Korea in spite of being told by their people to do so.

On the other hand, it cannot upset China because it will be in great trouble if China chooses to support North Korea.

The writer of the article wants his president Trump to do some Seoul searching. What is the use of Seoul searching? The US is declining and lacks the financial resources to perform its obligations to protect Europe, Japan, South Korea and many other countries.

Work hard to make the US rich and prosperous. That shall be the correct findings of US people’s Seoul searching.

As for South Korea, it really has lots of better alternatives than the deployment of THAAD. It can simply ask China what protection China can provide it if it does not deploy THAAD. It shall realize its own importance in East Asia. For the US it is an indispensable part of the US security triangle of US, Japan and South Korea in Asia. If it switches to China and Russia’s side and tells US troops to go home, the US will be in real trouble and will never dare to ask South Korea to pay for the costs of its military in South Korea.

Trump wants to reduce US financial burdens as the world’s only hegemon but cannot as he does not want to give up US world hegemony. Even if he wants, Congress and American people will not allow him. That is US weak point that Seoul can exploit.

China wants world leadership in win-win cooperation to benefit itself while benefiting others. Success of its free trade area (FTA) with South Korea has already brought lots of benefits to both countries. The FTA is also very important for China’s ambition to establish the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area, of which South Korea constitutes an important part.

With such weak point and ambition in South Korean leader’s mind, he will has much room of maneuver.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/south-koreas-greatest-fear-it-isnt-north-korean-invasion-22128.

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China’s Xi pledges to address differences with South Korea: Xinhua


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s President Xi Jinping pledged to make concerted efforts with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to address differences between the two countries properly, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory message sent to Moon on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-South Korea diplomatic relations, Xinhua said.

Development of China-South Korea relations made a positive contribution to regional peace and development, Xinhua cited Xi as saying. The news agency did not provide further details.

South Korea and the United States agreed to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in response to the growing missile threat from North Korea.

However, the installation of the missile system has angered China, which says its powerful radar will be able to look deep into its territory and undermine regional security.

China has pressed South Korean businesses through boycotts and bans, such as ending Chinese group tours to South Korea and closing most of South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group’s Lotte Mart retail stores in China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the exchange congratulatory messages was consistent with usual practice.

Many tangible and mutual benefits had been delivered to people of both countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties, she told a daily news briefing.

“We hope the South Korean side can summarize and look back on the experiences and lessons from the 25 years of diplomatic relations and take constructive actions to appropriately address relevant sensitive issues and differences to improve relations between China and South Korea,” Hua said.

“On the issue of THAAD, China’s position is very clear, resolute and there is no change.”

Moon has also pushed China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, to do more to rein in Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests since the beginning of last year, significantly raising tension on the heavily militarized Korean peninsula and in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July resulted in a new round of tougher global sanctions.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Michael Perry and Paul Tait

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi pledges to address differences with South Korea: Xinhua”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


‘Shocked’ South Korea leader orders probe into U.S. THAAD additions


FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

By Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park | SEOUL Tue May 30, 2017 | 5:51pm EDT

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered a probe after his Defence Ministry failed to inform him that four more launchers for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system had been brought into the country, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system battery was initially deployed in March in the southeastern region of Seongju with just two of its maximum load of six launchers to counter a growing North Korean missile threat.

During his successful campaign for the May 9 presidential election, Moon called for a parliamentary review of the system, the deployment of which infuriated China, North Korea’s lone major ally.

“President Moon said it was very shocking” to hear the four additional launchers had been installed without being reported to the new government or to the public, presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told a media briefing.

Moon had campaigned on a more moderate approach to Pyongyang, calling for engagement even as the reclusive state pursues nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and threats of more sanctions.

The Pentagon said it had been “very transparent” with South Korea’s government about THAAD deployment. “We continue to work very closely with the Republic of Korea government and we have been very transparent in all of our actions throughout this process,” Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis told a news briefing.

Separately on Tuesday, the U.S. military cheered a successful, first-ever missile defense test involving a simulated attack by an intercontinental ballistic missile, a major milestone for a program meant to defend the United States against North Korea.

The Missile Defense Agency said it was the first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), a separate system from THAAD, and called it an “incredible accomplishment.” [L1N1IW1MM]

CHINA TENSIONS EASING

Moon’s order of a probe into the THAAD launchers came amid signs of easing tensions between South Korea and China, a major trading partner.

China has been incensed over the THAAD deployment, fearing it could enable the U.S. military to see into its own missile systems and open the door to wider deployment, possibly in Japan and elsewhere, military analysts say.

South Korean companies have faced product boycotts and bans on Chinese tourists visiting South Korea, although China has denied discrimination against them.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s Jeju Air said China had approved a plan for it to double its flights to the Chinese city of Weihai from June 2.

Also, a Korean-Chinese joint drama production “My Goddess, My Mom” starring South Korean actress Lee Da-hae was told by its Chinese partner recently that it will soon be aired, according to Lee’s agent JS Pictures. Previously its broadcast had been indefinitely delayed.

An official at South Korean tour agency Mode Tour told Reuters it hoped China may lift a ban on selling trips to South Korea, which had been in place since March 15, as early as the second week of June. Although there had been no official orders from the Chinese government to lift the ban, a few Chinese travel agencies have sent inquiries about package tours, he said. However, South Korea’s Lotte Group has yet to reopen any of the 74 retail stores in China it was forced to close in March after the group allowed the installation of the THAAD system on land it owned.

BOMBER DRILL

The United States, which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, has a mutual defence treaty with Seoul dating back to the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce that has left the peninsula in a technical state of war.

South Korea’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday it had conducted a joint drill with a U.S. supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber on Monday, which North Korea’s state media earlier described as “a nuclear bomb-dropping drill”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked to Moon by phone on Tuesday and told him that dialogue for dialogue’s sake with North Korea would be meaningless, and that China’s role in exerting pressure on the North was important, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported that leader Kim Jong Un supervised the country’s latest missile test on Monday. It said the missile had a new precision guidance system and a new mobile launch vehicle.

Kim said North Korea would develop more powerful weapons to defend against the United States.

“He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger ‘gift package’ to the Yankees” in retaliation for American military provocation, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim, Hyunjoo Jin, Christine Kim and Suyeong Lee in Seoul, Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Bill Tarrant; Editing by Nick Macfie and James Dalgleish)

Source: Reuters “’Shocked’ South Korea leader orders probe into U.S. THAAD additions”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution


South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan (L) meets China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Fri May 19, 2017 | 4:51am EDT

China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a “normal track”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system that it opposes.

Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea’s hosting of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have taken on a more conciliatrory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae-in.

Xi told Moon’s representative Lee Hae-chan on Friday that his visit showed the importance the new South Korean leader attached to relations with Beijing.

“China, too, pays great attention to the bilateral ties,” Xi said in comments in front of reporters in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

“We’re willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track and benefit both peoples on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect,” he said.

Lee gave Xi a hand-written letter from the popular, liberal Moon, who easily won election earlier this month to replace Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

“President Moon said he hopes I’d also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected,” Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: “China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government… (and) continue to push for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

In a separate meeting with Lee on Friday, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said China “hopes that South Korea can respect China’s major concerns (and) appropriately resolve the THAAD issue,” Xinhua reported.

INFURIATED

China has been infuriated by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

The United States and South Korea have said the deployment is aimed purely at defending against any threat from North Korea, which experts have thought for months is preparing for its sixth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment.

However, Xi’s comments helped push up the shares of several South Korean companies that rely on the spending of Chinese tourists, whose visits have fallen sharply amid the THAAD dispute.

Shares in Lotte Shopping (023530.KS) reversed earlier losses to rise 1.5 percent, while Hotel Shilla (008770.KS), South Korea’s second-largest duty free store operator, rose 2.8 percent. Shares in AmorePacific (090430.KS), its largest cosmetics firm, were up 0.9 percent.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression. The threat from Pyongyang presents U.S. President Donald Trump with one of his greatest security challenges.

The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor. Trump and Moon have both also warned that a major conflict with the North is possible.

Moon sent envoys to the United States, China, Japan and the European Union this week in what the government calls “pre-emptive diplomacy”. His envoy for Russia will leave next week.

Before leaving Seoul for Beijing, Lee said Moon could meet Xi as early as July at a Group of 20 summit in Germany, while a separate meeting could also be possible in August.

(For a graphic on North Korea’s nuclear program, click tmsnrt.rs/2n0gd92 )

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Stephen Coates and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Will North, South Korean Diplomats Meet on Sideline of OBOR Summit?


South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In speaks during a press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool

According to Reuters, Beijing has invited and North Korea has accepted China’s invitation to attend One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit and displeased the US as North Korean is not a country along the Silk Road.

Then, according to Reuters’ report “South Korea to attend China’s Silk Road summit amid diplomatic rift” yesterday, though upset by South Korea’s deployment of THAAD, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave South Korea a last-minute invitation to the OBOR summit. South Korea may be interested in the construction of and investment in OBOR infrastructure projects but will be a competitor to Chinese construction firms that have overcapacity to export. THAAD provides China good excuse not to invite South Korea.

Since the invitation was given after North Korea promised to send a delegation to the summit, there is naturally the speculation that China may arrange a meeting between North and South Korean diplomats on the sideline of the summit.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-southkorea-idUSKBN1880Z9


Trump explained U.S. position on THAAD to Xi: South Korea


U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump told South Korea on Saturday he had explained to China’s President Xi Jinping America’s position on the deployment of an anti-missile defense system to South Korea, according to a statement from South Korea’s acting leader.

Trump informed South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in a Saturday telephone call of his summit discussion with Xi.

China has opposed the deployment of the U.S.-supplied High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea, arguing it could threaten its security, but South Korea and the United States say it is aimed at countering North Korea’s missile threat.

China has increased pressure and imposed restrictions on some South Korean companies doing business in China, which led many in the South to believe Beijing was retaliating against the deployment of the missile system.

“President Trump said he and President Xi held in-depth discussions on the seriousness of North Korea’s nuclear problem and how to respond to it, and also said he had conveyed the U.S. position on the THAAD deployment,” the statement said.

Trump pressed Xi to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear programme in their summit meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

The U.S. military began deployment of the THAAD system in March, a day after the North test-fired four ballistic missiles.

China has not directly said it is targeting South Korean companies.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: Reuters “Trump explained U.S. position on THAAD to Xi: South Korea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Military Cooperation Between Russia, China Hits Three-Decade High


Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Annual BRICS Summit in Goa on October 15, 2016.
Goa is hosting the 8th annual BRICS summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on 15 and 16 October 2016. / AFP / SPUTNIK (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)

Expanded coordination poses significant threat to U.S., allies in Asia Pacific

BY: Natalie Johnson March 21, 2017 4:59 am

Russia and China are displaying the highest level of military cooperation in three decades, posing an escalated threat to the United States and its allies, according to a government report released Monday.

U.S. air superiority in the Asia Pacific is particularly vulnerable due to sustained Russian arms sales to Beijing and a new focus between the two militaries on missile defense, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission detailed in its new report.

Russian deliveries of Su-35 strike fighter jets to China, which began in December 2015, along with deliveries of its S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, which are set to begin in 2018, will expand Beijing’s reach in the Taiwan Strait and threaten air assets of U.S. allies in the South China and East China Seas.

Ethan Meick, a policy analyst in security and foreign affairs at USCC who authored the report, predicted missile defense cooperation between Moscow and Beijing would continue for years to come. The two militaries held their first joint missile defense exercise in May 2016 and have announced a second exercise to be conducted in 2017.

Both Beijing and Moscow are opposed to U.S. plans to install the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system in South Korea to combat North Korean aggression. Meick anticipated the second Russia-China anti-missile exercise would coincide with the U.S. deployment of THAAD, which began earlier this month.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, the People’s Liberation Army and Russian Armed Forces have staged increasingly complex military exercises. The drills have expanded drastically in geographic scope, suggesting increasingly aligned security interests.

Russian and Chinese military officials have repeatedly denied that the exercises are aimed at any one country, but the timing and location of the drills has led the West to believe otherwise, the report noted.

Following the July ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that rejected China’s territorial claims to the South China Sea, the Kremlin and Beijing conducted their annual naval exercise in the South China Sea. Western officials believed the drills were a “show of unity” between the two countries, coinciding with President Vladimir Putin’s announcement just weeks earlier that he did not recognize the tribunal’s decision, according to the report.

The joint exercises have also led to more frequent meetings between senior-level Chinese and Russian military officers. These contacts have allowed defense officials to conduct arms deals, prepare for joint exercises, and outline regional and global security concerns.

Despite mutual distrust between Moscow and Beijing stemming from geopolitical and economic tensions, the report predicted the two countries would “further deepen” defense relations in the coming years to resist U.S. influence in the region.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Military Cooperation Between Russia, China Hits Three-Decade High”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views