RUSI NewsbriefVOLUME 28ISSUE 6members only

China and South Korea: Taking Each Other’s Measure

President Myung Lee-bak’s summit visit to Beijing in May 2008 was declared a success by officials on both sides. Yet upon closer inspection the relationship remains one of the most problematic and complex in the region.

In the wake of the recent mass demonstrations which rocked Seoul over US beef imports, one might be tempted to believe that South Korea’s biggest worry is maintaining relations with its long-term ally. A closer look at the region reveals that Seoul’s major worries might be closer to home. It was Chinese pressure, after all, which helped push North Korea into the Six Party Talks, opening a way out of the stand-off over the nuclear issue which remains an existential threat t

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