South Korea's Park set to charm China

Discussion in 'China' started by amoy, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    South Korea's Park set to charm China, show up the North

    SEOUL (Reuters) - When the presidents of China and South Korea meet in Beijing this week, they will likely use a rapport that blossomed eight years ago to find common ground on North Korea as well as seek ways to boost already vibrant economic ties.

    With her self-taught Mandarin and interest in Chinese culture, South Korea's Park Geun-hye will get a warm welcome during a four-day state visit that begins on Thursday.

    "I am sure this summit will be an unprecedented honeymoon for China and South Korea," said Woo Su-keun, a South Korean professor at Donghua University in Shanghai.

    The contrast between China's relationship with South Korea and its testy ties with the erratic North could not be starker.

    Beijing, the closest thing North Korea has to a major ally, has grown frustrated with Pyongyang and was heavily involved in U.N. sanctions imposed for the North's third nuclear test in February. Its annual trade with North Korea is a puny $6 billion, versus $215 billion with the South.

    On top of that, ordinary Chinese love South Korean fashion, pop stars and soap operas. North Korea, by contrast, is seen as a dangerous liability, and Chinese refer to leader Kim Jong-un derisively on social media as "Fatty Kim".

    Helping the mood music for Park, a slightly built and elegant 61-year-old, China's relations with Japan are also in the deep freeze due to a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Park's trip follows two visits by North Korean envoys to Beijing in the past month. While North Korea offered talks on its nuclear programme during those visits, experts are sceptical Pyongyang is ready to make any concessions.

    North Korea will be high on the agenda when she meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, who in a telephone call in March after both leaders took office called Park "an old friend of the Chinese people and of myself", according to South Korean officials.

    Both are expected to agree Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons. Park might also be able to use her personal chemistry with Xi - who she first met over lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Seoul in 2005 - to get China to put more pressure on Pyongyang, experts said.

    "Out of frustration and scepticism over a decade of North Korea's nuclear weapons development, China is now stepping up its push for denuclearization," said Lee Soo-hyuck, a former South Korean deputy foreign minister and its chief envoy to disarmament talks between 2003 and 2005.

    However, China is highly unlikely to do anything that would cause the collapse of North Korea, which it sees as a strategic land buffer against American influence in the region.


    Park and Xi will also focus on forging a stronger economic partnership.

    The South Korean leader will take a big business delegation to China, including executives from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor although it was unclear if any deals will be signed. Park's office expects a bilateral free trade pact under negotiation to be discussed.

    China is South Korea's biggest trading partner. South Korea is also one of the few developed countries that runs a surplus with China - to the tune of $53 billion in 2012 according to Seoul - thanks to exports of cars, smartphones, flat screen TVs, semiconductors and petrochemicals.

    South Korean imports to China overtook Japan last September, Singapore's DBS Bank said in a recent research note.

    Hyundai and its Kia Motors affiliate are now the third biggest seller of cars in China, ahead of their Japanese rivals. Volkswagen AG and General Motors are the top two.

    South Korean investment has also poured into China, exceeding $40 billion since 1988.

    After meetings in Beijing, Park will visit Xi'an, an industrial city in northwestern China where Samsung, the world's top technology firm by revenue, is building a $7 billion chip complex. Hyundai has just completed its third plant in Beijing.


    When China and North Korea sealed their relationship in blood fighting side by side in the Korean War, both were poor and isolated against the West. North Korea remains poor to this day while China is the world's second largest economy and South Korea is an industrial powerhouse.

    Beijing only established diplomatic relations with South Korea in 1992, but ties have flourished since.

    In 2005, when Xi was Communist Party boss of the wealthy eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, he met Park for lunch.

    Xi was keen to learn about the economic New Village Movement, a rural development program in the 1970s undertaken by Park's father, military ruler Park Chung-hee who is credited with building modern South Korea.

    Park, according to South Korean media reports, later gave Xi two boxes of materials that included her father's speeches on the movement and a book about South Korean economic development.

    She is an admirer of Chinese culture and her favourite book is a "History of Chinese Philosophy" by philosopher Feng Youlan. She has spoken fondly of her earlier trips to China.

    "President Park has a soft spot for China," the official China News Service said. "This kind of friendly public diplomacy gives a good impression to Chinese people and is extremely important."
  3. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

    Mar 7, 2009
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    China should work for the unification of Koreas.
  4. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 4, 2011
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    Japan pushed into a corner as Beijing, Seoul put on united front - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

    BEIJING--With Seoul and Beijing taking a more united stand against Japan over differences in perceptions of shared history, Tokyo’s efforts at wooing international backing for its territorial dispute with China may have to undergo a rethink.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, concluded in talks June 27 that confrontation and distrust between nations are deepening over history and other issues in Northeast Asia. It was an unmistakable reference to the recent flare-up of strains in ties that those two countries have with Japan.

    Xi and Park went on to underscore their close bilateral relations at a joint news conference the same day in Beijing, announcing that they will be always available to consult closely through reciprocal visits.

    Japan has been seeking to gain international support for its stand against China on the Senkaku Islands issue by mending fences with South Korea, with which it also has a territorial dispute.

    Analysts jumped at the mention of differences over history in the joint statement, saying it was a clear attempt by China to counter Japan by teaming up with South Korea on that front.

    In the past, China linked the dispute over the Senkakus in the East China Sea to its differences in perceptions of modern history with Japan to drum up support from an international audience.

    Without mentioning the row with Japan, Xi told the news conference that China and South Korea agreed to respect their respective core interests and concerns, which was taken to mean sovereignty issues.

    Park, who took office in February, visited China as a state guest from June 27 for summit talks with Xi, their first. Xi was named president in March.

    Her choice of China as the second nation to visit after she assumed the presidency represented a break with the longstanding practice of her predecessors.

    Traditionally, incoming South Korean presidents first visited the United States, the country’s main ally, and then Japan before going elsewhere.

    Park’s decision suggests that Seoul places growing importance on ties with China, analysts said.

    In contrast, the prospects for a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Xi and Park, respectively, remain dim even though Abe took office six months ago.

    The long-running dispute over the uninhabited Senkakus flared anew last autumn after Japan purchased some of the islands from private ownership and made them state property. The islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese, are administered by Japan as part of Okinawa Prefecture.

    Relations between Tokyo and Seoul soured after former President Lee Myung-bak landed on the Takeshima islets last August, making him the first South Korean president to do so. The islets in the Sea of Japan are called Dokdo in Korean. The islets are controlled by South Korea, but claimed by Japan.

    The standoff between Japan on one hand and China and South Korea on the other was exacerbated after Abe remarked in a Diet session in April that the definition of aggression has yet to be established in academia or in the international community.

    He was responding to a question on Japan’s wartime behavior.

    While working with China to put pressure on Japan, Park has also signaled her intention to strive toward patching up relations with Japan.

    “South Korea and China will make an effort to replace confrontation and distrust in the region with trust and cooperation,” she said at the joint news conference.

    A summit between Japan, China and South Korea, which was initially slated for May, was passed up after Beijing opted out of it.

    The joint statement, however, touched on it, saying that efforts should be made to hold it by the year-end, a show of giving consideration to Seoul’s position as the chair of the meeting.

    Asked about Japan’s reaction to the China-South Korea summit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga did not offer a direct reply at a news conference on June 27.

    “Japan and South Korea are important neighbors that should work to address the North Korea issue and to achieve peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” he said.

    With the help of the United States, Japan and South Korea are working to hold talks at foreign minister level on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, which gets under way in Brunei from June 30.

    But the prospects for talks between Abe and Park appear dim at this point.

    With regard to a possible Japan-China summit, the feud over the Senkakus would seem to render that impossible.

    The Japanese government reported Chinese government vessels’ incursion into the Japanese territorial waters around the islands on June 27.

    Abe has reiterated Japan’s willingness to have dialogue with China, but he refuses to budge over Japan’s rightful ownership of the islands.

    The Japanese Foreign Ministry does not seem to be bothered by Japan’s isolation in Northeast Asia.

    A senior ministry official said that ASEAN members share Japan’s concern about China’s growing quest for maritime interests in surrounding waters.
  5. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

    Dec 20, 2012
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    A Sino-Korean "reset" would have profound Asia-Pac implications. North Korea and Japan would both find themselves on the wrong side of history if that happened.
  6. cw2005

    cw2005 Regular Member

    Aug 20, 2009
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    Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria
    China should do no such thing. The best interest to China, more or less the USA and Japan, is to keep two Korean nations against each other. That was how the US wants to keep two Germanies, two Vietnams and two Chinas etc.

    When the GI were leaving Vietnam, they told the Chinese - "Our problem has ended, from now on, it will be yours"
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
    Payeng likes this.
  7. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Regular Member

    Nov 12, 2011
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    trade is good for both nations but taking it to the level of anti-japan or cornering japan is too high too early

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