Center for American Progress

RELEASE: US, South Korea Take Different Approaches to China Challenge
Press Release

RELEASE: US, South Korea Take Different Approaches to China Challenge

Washington, D.C. — The United States and South Korea may not see eye to eye on how to respond to China’s growing power, but a new analysis from the Center for American Progress explains how the two allies can cooperate in addressing the challenge.

While the U.S.-South Korea alliance has historically been focused on staving off threats from North Korea, there is growing desire among U.S. officials to collaborate with Seoul as part of U.S. China policy.

The analysis urges the United States to understand the constraints on South Korea’s ability to join with partners to counter China while, at the same time, creating mechanisms that would allow South Korea to take greater risks in resisting China. This would give South Korea more space to maneuver as it charts its own China policies, as well as strengthens its alliance with the United States.

“If the United States wants a more visible South Korean presence in initiatives that China perceives as a threat, it must develop methods of supporting South Korea when it is the victim of economic coercion and retaliation,” said Abby Bard, Asia policy analyst for National Security and International Policy at CAP and co-author of the issue brief. “That means rebuilding trust in the United States as an economic partner and creating ways to prevent the damage caused by economic coercion.”

Read the issue brief: “The China Difference in the U.S.-South Korea Alliance” by Tobias Harris, Abigail Bard, and Haneul Lee

For more information, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6327.