This policy brief analyses an ideational trajectory in which China’s views of the Korean–American alliance evolved during the last 60 years. It first surveys China’s general stance on alliances and alliance-making. The report then traces the evolutionary path of Chinese perceptions in the following four periods: (i) the Cold War era (1950s–1960s); (ii) transformative years (early 1970s–mid-1990s); (iii) the period of a strained alliance (late 1990s–late 2000s); and (iv) an era of great reversal (late 2000s–present). Principally, this brief suggests that China’s view of the Korean–American alliance was intense antagonism during the Cold War era, although it was significantly watered down during the transformative years of Sino–South Korean rapprochement. With the normalisation of relations between Beijing and Seoul in 1992 and a decade of progressive rule (1998–2007) in South Korea, China’s view encompassed some wishful thinking about a gradually diluted alliance. The strong comeback of the conservatives in South Korean politics since 2008, however, shattered such optimism and re-awoke Beijing to some cold realities of geopolitics. China’s view of the Korea–American alliance may grow more negative in tandem with U.S.–China relations, irrespective of the official rhetoric of sovereignty regarding alliances and alliance-making.
About the Author
Dr Jae Ho CHUNG is a professor of international relations and Director of the Program on US-China Relations at Seoul National University, Korea. Professor Chung is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Between Ally and Partner: Korea-China Relations and the United States (Columbia University Press, 2007), Central Control and Local Discretion in China (Oxford University Press, 2000), Charting China’s Future (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and China’s Crisis Management (Routledge, 2011). Professor Chung has served on the editorial committees of China Quarterly, Pacific Affairs, East Asia, Issues and Studies, Politics, Asian Perspective, China Perspectives, and China: an International Journal. Professor Chung is the founding coordinator of the Asian Network for the Study of Local China (ANSLoC: http://www.ansloc.net ). Professor Chung is also a recipient of Seoul National University’s Best Researcher Award in 2009 and of Korean Association for International Studies’ Best Book Award in 2012.
Country and Region Studies / East Asia and Asia Pacific / Policy Reports
Last updated on 26/11/2014