Republic of Korea and Japan Interplay with China: Opportunities, Risks and Prospects

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-6-123-132

. Fedorovsky (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
V. Shvydko (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article explores perception of China’s economic growth and its increased influence in Northeast Asia (NEA) by other countries of this region. It analyzes how Japan and South Korea view opportunities deriving from deeper economic cooperation with the PRC, including expansion into huge Chinese domestic market, as well as risks and challenges associated with it. The authors deliberate on different aspects and political implications of China’s role as a key trade partner to these countries. Political relations are explored with attention to old disputes and sources of distrust and conflict, as well as new risks and vulnerabilities that make NEA countries pay more attention to growing China’s activity in the region. Traditional issues of contention include territorial claims, different perceptions of history, ideological disputes and conflicting security concepts. Recent concerns center on Beijing’s foreign policy ambitions and dissimilar visions of future security architecture, both regional and global. The authors look into the possibilities and limits for the NEA countries’ efforts to balance China’s presence by involving the United States in solving regional problems. Mixed reaction of these countries to recent changes in the U.S. policy in the region is also explored, as well as the impact of these changes on international relations in the region. Much attention is paid to experience and scenarios of multilateral efforts to secure stability on the Korean Peninsula and promote its denuclearization. Attention is also drawn to the NEA countries’ efforts to diversify their political and economic interaction with the rest of the world, to promote multilateral frameworks and integration projects. To a large extent, these efforts are aimed, the authors argue, at creating international institutional framework to safeguard against Chinese attempts to dominate in the region. At the same time, the NEA countries view them as a tool to engage Beijing in the process of developing durable rules for future interaction and invite China to play a constructive role in alleviating current concerns.

Keywords: NEA, China, USA, the Republic of Korea, DPRK, Japan, Russia


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For citation:
Fedorovsky A., Shvydko V. Republic of Korea and Japan Interplay with China: Opportunities, Risks and Prospects. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 6, pp. 123-132.

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