U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at China today at a meeting in Tokyo of “The Quad”- a group of U.S. and its regional allies, namely, Australia, India and Japan.
There, where the four ministers discussed an increasingly assertive China, along with other issues including the coronavirus pandemic and cyber security, Mr. Pompeo accused Beijing’s governing Communist Party of “exploitation, corruption and coercion.”
Under the Trump administration, relations between the U.S. and China have plummeted to their worst in decades.
As a countermeasure, Washington has been making efforts to strengthen ties with regional allies.
China has previously made clear its disdain for the Quad grouping, and warned ahead of the meeting against “exclusive cliques” that target third parties.
Let’s talk about it. Live in the studio with us, to my right, Kim Hyun-wook, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and to my left, Choo Jae-woo, Professor of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University.
Welcome, gentlemen, to the show.

First of all, Professor Kim, explain to us what “The Quad” is.

How does Beijing view this Quadrilateral Initiative and the latest remarks by Secretary Pompeo?

The U.S. has been continuing to make efforts to push and expand the Quad – moving away from its bilateral alliances and bringing its allies together to form a more collective, multilateral alliance.
South Korea falls in line with this US initiative in the Indo-Pacific, but has remained reluctant, emphasizing close economic relations with China.
As the U.S. and China relationship continues to polarize, what kind of challenges do you see South Korea facing as it balances diplomacy and security with the US while keeping necessary economic ties with China?

The other Quad members have declined to adopt Washington’s hardline stance towards China.
In their remarks throughout the meeting, statements remain circumspect.
China remains an indispensable trading partner for Japan, Australia and India and of course, U.S. and Chinese economy remain much intertwined.
Do you think this defeats any prospect of the Quad becoming a collective security organization like NATO in Europe?

Now, back in 2017, when South Korea permitted the U.S. to deploy its THAAD missile defense system on Korean soil, China went on to punish South Korea by banning South Korean products and tourism.
As a result of this bullying, South Korea has since sought out and diversified its economic and strategic options, including the launching of the New Southern Policy as well as boosted ties with ASEAN’s ten member countries and India.
Do you think South Korea is in a position where its potential vulnerabilities from Chinese economic coercion have been mitigated?

The core of dilemma for South Korea being entrapped in a brewing Cold War between the United States and China is its continuing efforts towards greater foreign policy autonomy.
Where do things stand as far as previous talks of convergence of the New Southern Policy that exapnds South Korea’s foreign policy westward, and the FOIP(free and open Indo-Pacific) strategy?

Last month, the Caucuses 2020, a joint military exercise between Chinese and Russian forces was carried out, with troops from Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan
India had also planned to take part, but cancelled its participation as tension mounted between Delhi and Beijing.
A round of Delhi-Beijing talks are to happen some time this month, where the issue of the 1959 claim line could be brought up.
A date hasn’t been set yet But India, unlike other member states of the Quad, shares a border with China.
Moving forward, how do you see the rising tension between India and China playing out in regional foreign policy?

Kim Hyun-wook, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and to my left, Choo Jae-woo, Professor of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University, many thanks for speaking with us this evening. We appreciate it.

Reporter : jenmoon@arirang.co.kr

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