The U.S. Strategic Approach Toward China: Its Implications for South Korea
[Current Issues and Policies] No. 2020-12 (July 2020)
Dr. LEE Sang Hyun
Senior Research Fellow,
The Sejong Institute
Amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) crisis, the Trump administration of the United States issued a report about the future U.S. approach and strategy toward China. This report clarified the U.S. stance that it will make a “competitive approach” toward China through public pressure and containment policies rather than a cooperative approach. Right now, the U.S. and China are most likely to conflict in issues related to the South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and North Korea. Furthermore, in terms of economic aspects, a close examination is needed to the possible impact of the decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economy and the Economic Prosperity Network (EPN) initiative. With such high level of uncertainty, it is desirable for South Korea to take a “positive hedging” position in accordance with issues between the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, South Korea needs to double its effort to escape from the current excessive dependence on China’s supply chain through diversification. Nevertheless, if it ultimately needs to choose one side over the other, the U.S.-led economic network is more beneficial to South Korea than that of China.