With the advent of the Trump administration and the subsequent U.S.–China trade conflict, South Korea's trade policy is under immense pressure. The KORUS FTA has been pushed for renegotiation while the China–South Korea trade relations have stumbled after the THAAD deployment to South Korea. This challenge can be characterized by the economic-security nexus shifted from positive to negative: that is, South Korea is compelled to either sacrifice its economic benefits in favor of security interest or vice versa. In contrast to Japan that seeks to retain TPP as a way of benefitting from a regionwide trade integration and balancing both Trump unilateralism and Chinese mercantilist influence, South Korea is forced to play a more complex game. Given its deep yet asymmetric economic interdependence with China and North Korean security threats, South Korea needs to accommodate China while at the same time courting US engagement in resolving the North Korean nuclear problems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science