[EDITORIALS]Korea, China 12 years laterToday marks the 12th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and China. While the Cold War was ending, China, a communist country, and South Korea, an anti-communist nation, tied the diplomatic knot, leaving the past of the Korean War behind. The development symbolized the revolutionary changes in Northeast Asia affairs.
At that time, the two countries had close allies, Taiwan and North Korea. Despite the expected opposition of the allies, China and South Korea established relations because they believed exchanges and openness, rather than confrontation and severance, would contribute to their respective national interests.
Since diplomatic relations were formed, the nations have enjoyed economic and cultural exchanges. China has become South Korea’s largest partner in trade, direct investment and travel. To China, South Korea has become the third-largest trading partner and the largest investor. The trade volume between the two has reached $57 billion. If these trends continue, only a few years will be needed to reach the goal of $100 billion in trade agreed to by the two countries’ leaders last year.
In politics and foreign affairs, the two countries have also maintained a partnership in keeping peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The two countries have worked together on North Korea’s nuclear issues, defector issues and Japan’s challenge to distort the record of modern history.
Such a partnership, however, faced its most serious crisis in 12 years because of a history dispute over the kingdom of Goguryeo. As of now, anti-China sentiment is growing in Korea. We fear that the two countries’ relations based on reciprocity, cooperation and development may hit a rock.
We may have encouraged China’s nonchalant attitude about distorting history. Jumping on the bandwagon of anti-American sentiment, the current administration and the president have favored China unconditionally, and the history dispute with China should be an important juncture for Seoul to realize China’s other face.
Just because we love them, they do not necessarily love us back. Between the two countries, only the cruel reality of each country’s own interests exists. It will also never benefit China to be suspected of pursuing Chinese imperialism. China must correct its historical distortions to expand and deepen relations between China and South Korea.