Our diplomacy must evolve

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Our diplomacy must evolve

China and Russia’s efforts to hold the United States in check are in full swing all across the Asian continent from the Far East to the Middle East in what amounts to the beginning of a new cold war between the pro-U.S. camp and the pro-China, pro-Russia camp. That rings alarm bells for the security on the Korean Peninsula.

Losing leverage in Asia - which accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world’s GDP - means a de facto expulsion from the 21st-century competition for strategic influence. That’s why U.S. President Barack Obama decided to shift the axis of United States’ world strategy to Asia from Europe. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also announced that the U.S. government will deploy 60 percent of its naval capabilities to the Pacific by 2020 - a significant departure from the current 50-50 focus on the Pacific and the Atlantic - in an attempt to restrain China’s ever-growing power.

In response to that, China is augmenting its alliance with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is now on a state visit to China, soon after his inauguration, and in Beijing, Putin held a summit with China’s President Hu Jintao to declare the beginning of a new honeymoon between the two countries.

Putin went so far as to say that any international issue cannot be solved without taking the two countries’ national interests into account. China and Russia will no doubt raise a common voice on such issues as North Korea and Iran’s nuclear ambition and Syria’s crisis.

Both leaders also made public their ambitious plan to develop the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) into a military alliance on par with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. China even invited Afghan President Hamid Karzai as an observer to the SCO summit in Beijing in an attempt to expand its influence in Afghanistan as NATO troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.

The United States is also devoted to a strategy of effectively containing China by consolidating partnerships with traditional allies like Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Australia along with Singapore, India and Indonesia.

If a real standoff develops between the U.S. and China and Russia, Korea can be put in a precarious situation. Already in the Yellow Sea, a war of nerves goes on over our naval drill with the U.S., while Japan tries to deploy an Aegis ship to the Yellow Sea. It is not easy for us to strike a balance between China, our top trading partner, and the U.S., our closest ally. That needs sophisticated diplomacy.
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