China and South Korea Work Towards Normal Relations
South Korea and China announced last Tuesday that the two countries will resume normal relations. After a year of Chinese boycotts and economic pressures on South Korea after the THAAD employment, China’s Foreign Ministry said the two nations would work to put their relationship back on a normal track “as soon as possible."
Last July, Seoul had agreed to install the US-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense platform, which triggered angry responses and boycotts throughout Beijing officials in China.
The Hyundai Research Institute claims that South Korea is likely to have lost $7.5 billion since the THAAD dispute, a 0.5 percent drop to its G.D.P. South Korea’s car sales, entertainment sales, tourist industry and cosmetics sales in China have all suffered as well.
However, China unexpectedly changed it seemingly firm stance on the THAAD issue, allowing to end the dispute between China and South Korea despite the continuation of THAAD.
In accordance to Beijing’s new decisions, South Korea has agreed not to accept additional THAAD launchers. They also agreed not to join a trilateral military alliance system with the United States and Japan.
Evans J.R. Revere, a former State Department official stated that “Beijing was worried that THAAD would eventually be succeeded by ‘son of THAAD’- a regional missile defense system involving the United States, South Korea and Japan and other that would be aimed at dealing with China’s offensive missile force, unlike the current THAAD, which is not.”
China’s decision could mean important reflections on Chinese foreign policies, which also brings a new consideration to Mr. Trump’s policies for the region. Drawing President Moon closer to Beijing could create a new alignment between China and South Korea when dealing with North Korea.
President Moon is especially more receptive to diplomacy with North Korea as opposed to the former conservative president Park, Mr. Trump or Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.