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Impact of Sino-South Korean Diplomatic Relations on Trade and Economic Relations in Northeast Asia

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  • Zhao Chuanjun

Abstract

Northeast Asia (NEA) had once been an extremely complicated region beset with interlocking political and national hostilities. Conflicts existed on the social, military, and ideological planes, in addition to hostility between South and North Korea and the NEA people's historical hatred of Japan. The situation was largely influenced by political relations and typically politically oriented. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the enormous changes that have overtaken Eastern Europe, the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia and relaxation of tension between South and North Korea, economic and technological cooperation in the area has made a breakthrough; the previously political orientation has begun to be replaced by an economic orientation. Development and cooperation have increasingly become the mainstream. However, peace and stability have not been established, and realistic and potential political contradictions still largely restrict overall and in-depth economic and technological cooperation. The most obvious and important of these contradictions are the one between North and South Korea and the Russo-Japanese dispute over the "northern territories." As everyone knows, NorthâSouth Korean relation greatly influenced Sino-South Korean economic and technological cooperation, and the still-unresolved "northern territories" dispute is a major obstacle to development of Russo-Japanese economic and trade relations. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea can be said to be a major historical breatkthough in political relations in NEA. First, it eliminated the forty-year Sino-South Korean hostility and pushed overall economic and technological cooperation to a new stage. Second, it made the U.S. military presence in South Korea even less reasonable, thus weakening the basis of military confrontation in NEA and creating the conditions for long-term peace and stability. In addition, it greatly weakened North-South Korean political hostility and military confrontation, acting as a catalyst for peaceful unification. At the same time, Sino-South Korean diplomatic relations will also promote North-South economic exchange and cooperation, enabling northern Korea to enter the mainstream of economic and technological cooperation in NEA at a faster pace. Finally, it will act as a model and stimulus to overall resolution of the Russo-Japanese dispute. Although the crux of the problem in Russo-Japanese relations is different in nature from that between China and South Korea, Sino-South Korean diplomatic relations will stimulate greater enthusiasm by these two neighboring countries to seek a solution. Furthermore, although the Taiwan administration was extremely unhappy at these diplomatic relations, eventually, they will help to improve Taiwan-mainland relations and induce the Taiwan business world to engage more actively in economic and trade cooperation with the mainland and the entire NEA region. Under their influence, relations between North Korea and Japanese are also expected to improve, and Japan, after reassessing South Korea's position and role in NEA economic and technological cooperation, is expected to engage more actively in this cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhao Chuanjun, 1994. "Impact of Sino-South Korean Diplomatic Relations on Trade and Economic Relations in Northeast Asia," Chinese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 61-70, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:chinec:v:27:y:1994:i:4:p:61-70
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