Failure of South Korean “seesaw” diplomacy


A picture tells a thousand words.

China threatens Korea over Thaad

Mar 02,2017

As Korea speeds along with the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system by sealing a land deal with Lotte Group to acquire a golf course in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, Beijing is threatening diplomatic, economic and possibly military retaliation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said through a press briefing Tuesday that Beijing is “firmly opposed to and strongly dissatisfied with the fact that” Seoul is working with Washington to accelerate the deployment process of a Thaad battery and “ignoring China’s interests and concerns.”

This is clearly a result of South Korea’s “seesaw” diplomacy.

Korea has been like this for a long long time. It’s called “Sadaejuui


The South Korean public tends to favor the diplomatic strategy of managing both bilateral relationships harmoniously. South Koreans believe that it is against their national interest to promote one relationship at the expense of the other. The last two South Korean administrations have attempted to follow this diplomatic strategy by managing the two interactions cooperatively but independently.

However, sustaining friendly relations with both powers has proven difficult. Former president Roh Moo-hyun and current president Lee Myung-bak struggled to manage these two bilateral relationships and failed in their search for an ideal balance. President Roh, recognizing China’s growing power, accommodated China and maintained some diplomatic distance from the United States. For most of Roh’s tenure, South Korea enjoyed intimate bilateral interactions with China, but it suffered severely from the resulting complications in its security cooperation with the United States.

South Korea should have chosen which side you are on and firmly stand. There is an old saying  “He who runs after two hares will catch neither“.

And now, you are treated as “traitor” from BOTH sides.

Moon calls for balanced diplomacy

Moon Jae-in, the leading presidential hopeful, said Tuesday that South Korea should seek balance between the United States and China in dealing with diplomatic challenges.

Those who don’t learn from history…



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