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Korea Economic Institute presents:

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How Should South Korea Manage its Relations with the United States and China?

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Event Date

December 1st 2021 10:00am - 11:00am ET

Event Location

Livestreamed via YouTube


Kyle Ferrier

Zhiqun Zhu
Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Bucknell University
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Kyle Ferrier
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Event Video
Event Description

Strategic rivalry between the United States and China has put South Korea in a difficult position as pressure grows from the two powers to pick a side. Seoul’s situation is all the more complicated given that the importance of both countries extends beyond how each relationship is usually characterized. More so than being South Korea’s most important military ally, the U.S. is also a key economic partner. Likewise, China is South Korea’s largest trading partner, but Beijing also remains a crucial partner in resolving the North Korea security issue. To manage these complex relationships amid great power competition, Seoul has adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity.” While skeptics have argued this is unsustainable, preserving the status quo may be South Korea’s best path forward.

Please join KEI for a discussion with Professor Zhiqun Zhu on South Korea’s relationships with the U.S. and China, how it has been managing ties with each amid their growing rivalry, and how Seoul might best defend its own interests.

Read Dr. Zhu’s paper here