16 December 2017
South Korea’s reassurances to China over its security concerns paved the way for better relations and President Moon Jae In’s state visit, analysts said.
Things took a turn for the better in late October with the two sides agreeing to put ties back on track. This has been made possible through Seoul’s agreement to conditions known as the “Three Nos” – no deployment of additional Thaad batteries, no joining of a US-led missile defence network and no trilateral security alliance with the US and Japan.
This provided some assurance to the Chinese and, besides, they may have realised it was impossible to get the South Koreans to drop Thaad completely, said security analyst Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“Coercing the South Koreans to do so will further damage China-South Korean ties and ultimately push South Korea much closer to the US,” he said. This, he added, will be detrimental to China’s security environment in North-east Asia.
On the other hand, better ties with the South Koreans would undermine any US plan to further strengthen its military presence and deterrent capability against China, particularly the American plan to link up its anti-missile defence systems into a network in the region, he said.
On the nuclear issue, China and South Korea are opposed to war in the region and if they could articulate this together, it would more significantly constrain the United States, he said.
And if war should occur, “a more positive relationship between Beijing and Seoul will help China deal better with the aftermath”, including resettlement of refugees, reunification of the Korean peninsula and the US military presence there, said Associate Professor Li.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/12/2017