South Korea Has Quietly Taken Sides in the U.S.-China Rivalry

U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrive for a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, Washington, May 21, 2021 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).
U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrive for a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, Washington, May 21, 2021 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

South Korea’s era of “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to taking sides in the great power rivalry between its historical ally and its rising neighbor is well and truly over. The Moon Jae-in government has moved away from seeking a middle ground between the U.S. and China. Quietly but surely, Seoul has decided to side with Washington in its competition with Beijing. The signs of this shift are everywhere. Prominent examples include the joint statement signed by Moon and U.S. President Joe Biden in May, which called out Beijing’s behavior in everything but name, and Seoul’s military build-up, which targets China as […]

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