The Growing Relationship Between South Korea and China: Consequences for North Korea
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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After approximately forty years as enemies, South Korea and China normalized relations in 1992. This change has accelerated the growth of both of their already booming economies. Beyond that, it has helped propel Beijing into a pivotal role of influence since it now maintains friendly relations with both Koreas, currently the only country to do so. Nearly fifteen years after this normalization, South Korea and China still enjoy a strong relationship that generally continues to improve. Surprisingly, North Korea does not seem to oppose its staunch ally befriending its primary rival. This improving relationship and the effect it has on both states approaches to North Korean crises hold vast implications for the changing power structure in the region and for the United States role in Asia. This thesis assesses which traditional international relations paradigm, Realism or Liberalism, provides the best insights into why South Korea and China desire a strong relationship with each other, find stronger support for Liberalism in South Korea and for an adapted version of Realism in China. Furthermore, it examines North Koreas position toward this growing relationship and the implications of it for Pyongyang. Finally, this thesis analyzes the implications for Japan and the United States and offers recommendations for U.S. policy makers.
- Government and Political Science