[Current Issues & Policies] No. 2020-43
Foreign Affairs Outlook for 2021
Chinese Political Landscape and Korea-China Relations
Dr. LEE Seong-hyon
Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, The Sejong Institute
The most influential events in politics and foreign relations of China in 2020 can be summarized as “COVID-19” and the “U.S. and China conflicts.” COVID-19 has also been politicized and catalyzed further deterioration in the U.S.-China relations. The deepening conflict between the U.S. and China due to the COVID-19 political situation has strengthened President Xi Jinping’s personal power in Chinese politics, and the urgency of COVID-19 quarantine and disease control has pushed the Communist Party of China to upgrade its “digital surveillance” of Chinese society without the smallest strain. Meanwhile, in the geopolitical structure of the U.S.-China competition, China has focused its relations with South Korea on “securing its allies.” The ROK-China relations have not had a chance to thaw stalled bilateral relations for years since the THAAD crisis, as President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seoul ended as a futile attempt. With the global COVID-19 political situation continuing in 2021, it may not be easy to restore the bilateral relations due to South Korea’s domestic political schedule of by-election and presidential election. In particular, the widespread anti-China sentiment within South Korean society is the biggest challenge for restoring bilateral relations.
▶ For a full article in Korean, please follow the link:
※ Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.
※ This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.