Sino-ROK Relations on the 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII

Gilbert Rozman

Beijing and Seoul have experienced ups and downs in their relationship over the thirty years since the end of the Cold War. At times, such as when President Park Geun-hye stood beside General Secretary Xi Jinping on the Beijing review stand at the parade in honor of the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, it appeared that history would not be a barrier to closer ties. At other times, such as when the Koguryo issue flared a decade earlier, ancient history interfered with relations. The most persistent history theme was the shared resentment against Japan for its aggression and occupation lasting to 1945. Often lost as these historical issues flared were differences in how China and South Korea interpreted the end of the Cold War and their impact on relations. This gains more salience in 2020 when linkages between 1945 and 1989-91 are in the forefront, implicating the role of North Korea in the mainstream narratives on both sides.

Although 2020 is the year when history is uppermost in people’s minds, as if it neatly captures the anniversary of consequence, we should take note of three multi-year transformations. The first was from 1945 to 1953, when WWII ended, the PRC was established, and the Korean War took place. The 75th anniversary at times references the entire sequence. The second was from 1988 to 1994, when the Seoul Olympics set Sino-ROK relations on a new course, the Soviet-US agreements formally ended the Cold War, Sino-ROK normalization occurred, the collapse of the Soviet Union left North Korea isolated, and the Agreed Framework opened the diplomatic path to resolving the future of North Korea. Finally, a third period can be discerned from 2015 when the end of WWII was highlighted in capitals of the region on May 9, August 15, and September 2, to 2018-19 when President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un struggled to find a resolution to North Korea’s status without addressing the legacy of the past, to the looming challenges of 2020 when history is bound to be faced directly even as it is overshadowed by a pandemic with still immeasurable economic and political force. It is this mixture of three distinct periods that must be recognized if we are to grasp the way history is shaping bilateral relations at this time.

Chinese and South Korean narratives view all three of these periods differently and link them together in ways strikingly at odds with one another. Although 1945 should have served as a unifying factor in the defeat of Japan, the expansion of the period of the war’s end reaches to the Korean War, when China and South Korea were adversaries. Thus, memories of 1949 and 1950—the one just celebrated as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and the other also to be recognized in 2020 as finalizing the arrival of the Cold War in Asia with a hot war—are unavoidably mixed with the 75th commemoration, especially with Vladimir Putin joining Xi Jinping in the two biggest celebrations of the year. This year it is more likely that Kim Jong-un rather than Moon Jae-in will stand on the podium in Moscow or Beijing or even in both cities.

This article examines narratives over four periods, distinguishing three variables: great power security, peninsular balance of power, and historical legitimation. It takes note of narratives in South Korea but concentrates on those from China, given the conclusion that China is driving the relationship in spite of Chinese claims to the contrary. While the focus stays on bilateral ties between Beijing and Seoul, the conclusion points to a wider pattern of Chinese thinking about international relations, evolving over three decades, of which this dyad is one manifestation. In the 1990s Beijing was passive and Seoul confident; in the 2000s Beijing was pushy and Seoul guarded; in the 2010s Beijing was aggressive and Seoul anxious; and in the late 2010s Beijing went on the offense and Seoul was becoming desperate, both from 2016 and more so in 2019.

 The 1990s

Despite shared narratives about Japan’s perfidy, Chinese and South Korean accounts of the 1945-53 period are deeply contradictory. They differ in their assessments of the roles of the US and the Soviet Union, of North Korea, and of their respective roles in the Korean War. When Park Geun-hye stood beside Xi and Putin in 2015, she was there to narrowly commemorate the victory over Japan without accepting Chinese rhetoric on how that victory took place. Xi had welcomed her presumably to drive a deeper wedge between Seoul and Tokyo, while having in mind the broader linkages among the three periods bound to raise US suspicions of the ROK. In the past thirty years there has been no narrowing of the divide, although neither side mentions it much, as if to do so would expose the fragility of the relationship they have somehow forged.

The Fourteenth Congress in October 1992 saw a summing up of Chinese thinking on the Cold War, only modestly revised later, with important implications for policy toward South Korea, with which diplomatic relations had just been established. First, the irreconcilable struggle between socialism and the US-led bloc would continue, the Stalin model was flawed but redeemable (as in North Korea), Gorbachev had erred to the point of destroying his country and its socialism as if some model of convergence existed (such as what some had suggested is the Korean model for China or North Korea), and despite the collapse of the Soviet Union (and isolation of North Korea with dire effects) Sino-Russian relations would truly normalize.1 The theoretical underpinning of the Congress included: a theory of competition between socialism and capitalism allowing for a socialist market economy; a theory of modernization rejecting all the mainstream political ideas of Western modernization theory; a recent theory of civilizations accentuating the struggle between the West and civilizations of the East, especially China’s, the cradle of the East; and the theory of a new world order (a favorable environment for China, using South Korean ties versus Japan, including for economic growth in a period when there will be no consolidation of political and military ties). Although little was said in China about the embarrassing case of North Korea and the theoretical significance of South Korea in separating economic and political engagement, the course was set for policies over the next three decades, even if Deng’s dictum on “lying low” meant that such views would not be trumpeted abroad.2

It was not long before China’s thinking began focusing on South Korea, as a new target in the intensifying Japan-ROK history wars, as a vulnerable bystander in the US-North Korean struggle over nuclear weapons, and as the centerpiece in rival proposals for regionalism.3 In dealing with the United States, Russia, and Japan—the three countries foremost for its national identity—and North Korea, its foremost partner in socialism, China found it impossible to avoid South Korea.4 It was a lynchpin in the development of a strategy for the post-Cold War period. Yet, until the end of the 1990s China was largely passive in trying to shape Sino-ROK relations. The shortcomings of how the Cold War ended would not be stressed in a “honeymoon” era.

The 2000s

A pair of Chinese books in 2009 and 2011 on how the Chinese view Korea and the Koreans view China capture the gap in historical consciousness. The key difference cited is not realist thinking on power, but consciousness shaped by textbooks and the media and conveyed in the writings of experts.5 They point to: an inflated Korean sense of being a model to a backward China, problems of distrust due to historical memory and anti-communist education demonizing China, Cold War thinking, demonization of communism, stress on the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution; and fear of overdependency on the Chinese market. If stress is put on historical and cultural consciousness, it is especially striking what is omitted on the true nature of Korean worries. Thus, Chinese authors conceal from their own population how history figures into Korean thinking, especially the legacy of the Korean War and the Cold War.

The book on Chinese views traces the evolution from “honeymoon” to “Korean wave” to “hate Korea” by 2009. At first, Chinese saw South Korea as similar, as recently as the 1970s making a transition similar to what China sought, but a backlash followed accentuating differences. The negative reporting on South Korea in the 1980s was followed by a spate of positive economic stories, but older generations kept their negative outlook centering on history and were not impressed by the “Korean Wave” after 1999. The Koguryo dispute from 2003 led to a focus on emotionalism versus China. Acknowledging here too that history and culture were the source of worsening views of relations, including Chinese anger that Koreans are stealing China’s cultural heritage,6 authors do not explain the driving forces making this so bad. They overlook top-down political messages, charging that Chinese are just upset with uppity Korea, as if it were a great power, showing arrogance and posing a civilizational challenge. This suggests that deference is now demanded based on changed Chinese confidence and even a Sinocentric view of how the long-time vassal should behave, instead of giving offence with a condescending view of China’s past. Just when Koreans are proud of Chinese interest in the “Korean Wave,” China counters with a more powerful cultural message reflecting a rise in pride in 2008 linked to the Beijing Olympics and sacred torch parades, showcasing as the prime target “offensive” South Koreans.

Chinese sources consider South Korean views of history a problem: anti-China, infected by Western thinking, and emotional. They have been much less concerned about North Korean thinking on history even if it poses problems. Deference to China is not limited to calls for respecting China’s views on the usual “core interests.” It has wider scope, making differences over history a reason for low expectations about Sino-South Korean relations in the future. At its core, the gap over the Korean War and over the revolutionary bond between the communist forces in China and North Korea is the irreconcilable factor that could no longer be overlooked.

The First Half of the 2010s

Chinese writings are prone to separate Sino-ROK relations into stages, acknowledging that in the first stage after the 1992 normalization ties were narrowly non-political. By building economic ties, China could gain by encouraging Seoul to distance itself from Tokyo and to reject US calls for a hardline approach to Pyongyang. At this low level of relations, Koreans were impressed by the substantial economic gains achieved, but Beijing proved that it was not satisfied after South Korea grew more vulnerable in the Asian Financial Crisis. The second stage of relations also began with Seoul pleading for greater cooperation, when Kim Dae-jung sought support for the Sunshine Policy, leading to upgrades in 1998, 2000, and finally, under Roh Moo-hyun in 2003, when the declaration of a comprehensive partnership brought politics, diplomacy, military, and security ties into the scope of ties.7 The 2005 Hu Jintao visit to South Korea for the APEC summit notably brought security to the forefront when the Six-Party Talks were at a key juncture. During the Roh era, China was mostly positive on the state of the relationship, alert to Roh’s troubled ties with the US and Japan and earnest pursuit of North Korea without any issues deeply troubling for Sino-ROK relations.8 Lee Myung-bak’s visit to China in May 2008 accompanied a change in tone in Chinese sources. The expectations for Seoul’s behavior had shifted under Roh and perhaps in Beijing with Xi Jinping now on the Political Standing Committee: China could no longer be excluded on North Korean issues by ROK-US cooperation; “peace” on the peninsula was not secondary to denuclearization; and Lee had to show that he was not reverting to leaning to the US, which he failed to do when he visited the US first, reinforcing relations. Barely 15 years after normalization was premised on the principle of a split between politics and economics, Beijing clarified that for a truly normal relationship it was finally revealing a different agenda prioritizing security beyond just chairing the Six-Party Talks. Critical to its aspirations was new pressure on Seoul to break with Washington on putting ties to Pyongyang above denuclearization. Although a brief Sino-ROK trade war had occurred in 2000 and China had blamed the ROK for arousing tensions in 2004 over ancient history, China’s shift in 2008 was the point of no return.

In 2008 Chinese expressed satisfaction with closer cultural ties, including the Korean Wave, and held out hope for resolving contradictions between economics and security in Northeast Asia. Yet there was an element of impatience not visible earlier, insisting on greater political trust.9 Within a few years, dissatisfaction had come to the fore, attributed to Seoul’s response to the sinking of the Cheonan. Rather than South Korea’s anger at Beijing’s refusal to blame North Korea, the more significant impact was China’s decision not only to blame Seoul for reacting with increased military cooperation with Washington, which was seen as really directed at China using North Korea as a pretext, but to treat this as the decisive security betrayal against which China had been warning. Relations were said to be in trouble over four factors: 1) North Korea, 2) history, 3) trade, and 4) a maritime territorial dispute.10 Three of the four pertain to the way China has revealed a worldview rooted in its Cold War thinking. North Korea provoked, South Korea turned to the US, and China blamed South Korea not North Korea. Although talk of history often feigned that Koguryo was the source of division, omitting the Korean War as cause and other matters linked to North Korea while insisting that historical issues arose due to the emotional nationalism of South Koreans, Chinese were exposing how important it was by putting history second and showing the legacy of the 1980s that had not been addressed in relations.

Strategizing about South Korea increasingly brought North Korea to the fore, as seen during the five years of the Six-Party Talks. In 2008-10 the full thrust of the tilt toward Pyongyang could be detected: demonizing Lee Myung-bak, arousing the emotions of the Chinese people over the national identity gap with Seoul, intensifying ties with Pyongyang with economics in the fore, and renewing memories of the valor of joining on the North’s side in the Korean War.11 When Sino-North Korean ties flagged in the first years of the Kim Jong-un era and ROK-Japan ties hit a rough patch, the illusion spread that history was no longer a problem in Sino-ROK relations.12 It overlooked Xi Jinping’s 2014 speech at Seoul National University that demanded more from Seoul in joining against Japan over history and also Chinese writing about Korean history, which had grown increasingly acerbic in criticizing all periods of that history, including the end of war.

Park Geun-hye took office in 2013 in the shadow of troubled assessments of problems in this bilateral relationship 20 years after normalization.13 Warnings were unambiguous: economic ties are limited in building trust; pressure on North Korea is the wrong approach; beware of the US-Japan-ROK trilateral alliance since it is targeted at containing China; and Northeast Asia is increasingly entering a new Cold War situation. The basic cause cited is that the ROK-US alliance is interfering with Sino-ROK cooperation. If to 2008 Beijing and Seoul largely agreed on how to manage the North Korean question, they diverged from 2008, were deeply at odds in 2010, and faced the challenge of finding a common stance under Park. This warning came just as Xi Jinping was taking full charge in Beijing and treating Sino-US relations as more antagonistic, charging that ROK military exercises and other alliance cooperation was really aimed at containing China.

Xi’s orientation toward the Korean Peninsula can best be called Sinocentric. It has a strong dose of historical consciousness, blaming “myths” generated in South Korea since 1945; reacting against charges of Chinese hegemonism; charging that it is South Korea that has a Cold War mentality as if China could never reconcile to its thinking that carried over after 1992; and while pretending that China is not opposed to the US-ROK alliance treating it as a Cold War relic. Instead of acknowledging that China has upped its demands on South Korea as China’s power has grown, all the blame is put on Seoul for:  not accepting China’s rise, having illegitimate great power aspirations in Northeast Asia, and being the real challenger to the regional order but blaming China for it. Seoul’s behavior is now cited as infringing on China’s “core interests.”

The Second Half of the 2010s

Chinese sources, after an interlude in 2014-15, turned sharply negative on South Korea in 2016 and have hardly reversed course despite the modest upturn in relations in 2018. Recently, criticism has sharpened, broadening the range of attacks from the THAAD focus of prior years. If the Cheonan response was blamed on tilting toward the US, the THAAD response was seen as even more so at a time of rising Sino-US rivalry and in defiance of the “balance” demanded. The ROK-US alliance was increasingly viewed in zero-sum terms with Sino-ROK relations. Despite Moon Jae-in’s welcome overtures to North Korea and Trump’s wooing of Kim Jong-un, Beijing was increasingly dissatisfied with Seoul, as revealed in a late-2019 article,14 which demands bolstering relations and indirectly threatens what otherwise might happen. The timing relates to the dialogue stage of the Korean nuclear crisis, which makes Sino-ROK security relations urgent, especially in the face of the impasse in US-North Korean talks, for avoiding regression on the peninsula and a new regional Cold War. Implicit is the idea that China and South Korea will be on opposite sides since joint pressure on North Korea would hardly be called a Cold War. Arguing that the two countries share an interest in achieving denuclearization through peaceful means and in cooperation to maintain regional peace and stability, the author alludes to the need to stop “maximum pressure” and give Kim Jong-un what he requires to avoid renewal of a crisis atmosphere. Seoul is urged to further clarify that it is against US alliances becoming more multilateral and that it will not participate in the US missile defense system, as it already has done by eschewing a trilateral alliance with Japan. On the South China Sea, Seoul’s caution in supporting freedom of navigation, except in principle, is welcomed; yet it is warned not to take a public position that might lean toward the US,15 and told that it is time to reach a consensus with China precisely on freedom of navigation to increase mutual trust. Any sign of support for the position of Japan on the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute with China would show a lack of respect and lead, it is hinted, at retaliation. Asserting that the New Southern Policy aligns with the BRI, the author warns that it is aimed at decreasing economic dependence on China and competing with China in Southeast Asian markets, as if those are dubious aims, and adds that domestic political change in Seoul may cause problems ahead—an indication of the urgency behind new pressure.

The same article accuses Moon of rejecting China’s repeated calls to work together to advance denuclearization by insisting on Seoul taking the lead and pursuing trilateralism with the US. This is seen as posing a test for the South Korean-Chinese security relationship previously tested by THAAD. By equating the two, the author makes clear the intensity of China’s opposition to how Moon has dealt with Kim Jong-un, adding that THAAD deployment seriously damaged popular Chinese support for Sino-ROK relations and that antagonism could spread to this issue and damage security cooperation over the long run. Indeed, deepening Sino-US competition is seen as forcing Seoul to choose with security in multiple arenas standing in the forefront.

As for economics, linkages with security are also highlighted, under the shadow of a trade deficit and dependency giving China leverage, made more likely by declining trade complementarity. The state of economic relations does not satisfy China, which is pressing for major changes.16
Lack of trust is a favorite Chinese mantra: the US is blamed for the lack of US-DPRK trust and South Korea is faulted for the deficit in Sino-ROK trust. Economic ties are seen as necessary but insufficient for trust; increasingly security cooperation is the touchstone for proving one’s trust. Given the worsening situation in the region due to DPRK-US and Sino-US tension, the burden is on Seoul to prevent a new Cold War by boosting security ties to Beijing. The opening of the diplomatic track with Pyongyang in 2018 was a game changer, not because denuclearization was in sight, but because China’s main objective for Northeast Asia could now be openly pursued: the transformation of regional security with Washington under pressure and Seoul beleaguered. Beijing has upped its pressure on Seoul: join in precluding a Cold War (use of the term suggests that China will stand with North Korea) or face various kinds of pressure for failing to act. The time for strategic patience (into which the US has receded and Seoul is inclined) has passed.17

Chinese sources anticipate tough times ahead. They distort US policy toward North Korea,18 ignoring carrots and assuming sole reliance on sticks has aroused the North’s dissatisfaction. No mention is made of what the North needs to do, only of how since the impasse in Hanoi, there is a big danger of a downward spiral, whose prevention Seoul must assist by working with Beijing. The supposed purpose is denuclearization, but this is only deemed possible by a process deemed satisfactory to Pyongyang as well as Beijing: assisting the North’s economy, forging a shared national identity, and resisting US pressure against the North and provocative military moves.

THAAD looms in Chinese writings as a foretaste of what could follow if Seoul does not make the right moves. After Xi Jinping’s visit in 2014, Seoul did for over two years (Park is blamed for pressuring North Korea, but Moon’s shift on this score has not won him plaudits since he is also blamed for failing to prioritize what China means by peaceful reunification.19):
joining the AIIB and sending her to the victory day parade in 2015, but for the following two years it did not, until Moon’s December 2017 visit to Beijing, which only started a recovery in ties. What could South Korea lose? Bilateral trade totaling well over $300 billion with China’s imports in excess of $200 billion is now linked to security, and the wrong choice could lead China to insist on narrowing its huge deficit and cut back the massive flow of Chinese tourists to South Korea. There are warnings that unbalanced trade cannot be sustained; Seoul must reject Trump’s economic approach to China and open its markets to Chinese industrial products.

Seoul could go astray in at least three ways. It could take the wrong line on the denuclearization process, as it did in 2008, a result of conservative leadership then after close Sino-ROK coordination had brought about the 2005 joint agreement—held up as a model. Were a conservative president to succeed Moon—a “political shift”—China would not be so forgiving this time is the message. Seoul also could cross a red line, it seems, if it were to backtrack on the “three noes” Moon approved in 2017 or agreed to multilateral alliance or missile defense appeals of the US. China’s warnings center on its public opinion getting aroused, as it is still years after the THAAD decision, with implications for national identity themes as well as security ones, which could lead to Chinese retaliation. Even economic diversification could be construed as aimed at hurting China’s rise, e.g., through the New Southern Policy boosting economic ties to Vietnam at China’s expense or in other ways linking up with the FOIP in competition with the BRI. And despite approval for Moon’s role in facilitating the turn to diplomacy in 2018, Chinese fault him—almost as if he has committed another THAAD-like error—for how he has proceeded since then with North Korea. He had prioritized a three-way framework, excluding China and trying to put South Korea in the lead.20 The fact that Xi visited Pyongyang and not Seoul in 2019 is indicative of China’s reaction, insisting on a four-way framework with room for a six-way one.

The overall message is that if Seoul wants to resolve the North Korean issue it must work with Beijing. It must join in containing the US “militarist” policy through closer security ties to China, aimed at what is called a “peaceful resolution” of the matter. Whether the shift is seen as taking a balanced approach to China and the US or not, it really points to new pressure targeting Moon, leaning toward Beijing and acting now to institutionalize relations before a conservative replaces him or, perhaps, a new US president pressures Seoul in a manner different from Trump. Essentially, it is up to Seoul whether a new Cold War lies ahead. Given warnings about US Cold War thinking—both under Obama and especially Trump—Seoul is the country that will shape the future of Northeast Asia through its choice in the very near future. Its hopes in 2018 were an illusion, which irritated China, but now it risks serious retaliation if it were to make the wrong moves. To avoid such responses, South Korea should boost security ties, accept China’s rise and the concept of a shared future, and no longer delay its choice. The time has come to forge strategic trust through policy shifts toward China, North Korea, and the US.

Seoul is targeted by China differently than Tokyo for at least four reasons: 1) it is considered a more integral part of the Sinocentric order, given historical ties and geography; 2) vulnerability to North Korea gives China more leverage; 3) its economic dependency is greater; and 4) it is not viewed as a power of the same order as Japan or with the same political cohesion as Japan. Yet fissures owing to Trump’s “America first” pressure leave both more open to Chinese moves,21 even if they have been taking the different directions of wooing Abe and squeezing Moon.

In one early 2019 article, stress was put on entering a new era now, in the shadow of THAAD and in the midst of worsening Sino-US relations and intensifying diplomacy over North Korea. The US element has to be managed by Seoul with an eye to balance on North Korea policy and institutionalizing a security framework for Northeast Asia in face of a danger to Sino-ROK ties. This was a call for a new stage in Sino-ROK relations, raising the notion of equilibrium in ties to China lost with THAAD deployment and not restored. It is not North Korean nuclear weapons that are viewed as the prime regional threat but imbalance in regional security.22

Two demands dominate in recent Chinese writings on South Korea: managing the US factor in ROK foreign policy with more restraint and coordinating overtures to North Korea with China.23 Security is in the forefront, but it is seen in the context of history, not actual threats to China. In place of narrow focus on denuclearization or the ROK-US alliance, attention has turned to what China envisions as a regional security system, in which Sino-ROK ties have great importance. Yet Seoul has allowed strategic ties with Beijing to fray, and they have not rebounded, let alone evolved to meet today’s challenges. Stabilizing the peninsula is the priority, not denuclearization. In the background is an image of unfinished business from the end of the Cold War, feigning that at fault is US and ROK Cold War thinking as if China’s view of what is not Cold War thinking is the norm without explaining openly what the Chinese view is and how it is rooted in history.

Conclusion

The end of WWII and of the Cold War are joined together in an overall narrative on what kind of world order exists and should exist. Is it a liberal, international order ideally devoted to freedom, democracy, and free markets, which was victorious in the Cold War and given new vitality after that outcome? Or is it an unfair order dominated by the West, which only appeared to succeed in 1989-94 and is in the midst of being replaced by a different world order led by China? Different verdicts on the end of WWII and of the Cold War lie at the heart of troubled Sino-ROK relations.

Chinese views of South Korea evolved roughly as follow: 1990s—passive, 2000s—demanding, first half of 2010s—assertive, late 2010s—aggressive, and 2019—intolerant. At the end of each decade and in the mid-2010s, a transition could be detected in response to security, economic, and national identity changes. These occurred in 1998-2003, 2008-10, 2015-16, and 2018-19. Symbolic of new thinking was the Koguryo flare-up in 2003, the response to the 2010 Cheonan sinking, the response to the THAAD deployment decision in 2016, and the response to failed diplomacy with North Korea in 2019. From stage to stage, Chinese grew more demanding about Seoul’s stance on great power relations, Seoul’s posture toward North Korea, and Seoul’s views on history. Yet obfuscation persisted on four critical issues: the Korean War, which scarcely was mentioned; the acceptability of the ROK-US alliance, often treated as if it might be able to persist; the relationship between “stability” in North Korea and denuclearization; and Sinocentrism, as if the only problem is unjust ROK warnings against Chinese hegemonism. Also obscured was the degree to which perceptions of South Korea in each stage were due not to ROK provocations but to overall shifts in Chinese attitudes on four other matters: on China’s own identity and role in the region and the world; on Sino-US relations and views of US power; on the prospects for North Korea and its willingness to engage; and, on occasion, on Japan and Russia. These ranked as higher priorities; treatment of South Korea was often derivative of other Chinese policies.

Chinese sources insist that the changes over thirty years have resulted from ROK actions and often that the Chinese government is responding to pressure from Chinese public opinion. Yet the Sinocentric and Cold War roots of Chinese thinking are clarified by comments that Koreans share the same culture as Chinese and have deviated due to westernization. Similar charges are addressed at Seoul as at Tokyo: aspiring to be a political great power, viewing Northeast Asia from a Cold War lens, and striving to contain China with the US. Yet the demands are more intense; Seoul is expected to be more obedient and is seen as more vulnerable. The provocations differ—the Cheonan, THAAD, and bypassing China in outreach to North Korea—and the problem is not attributed to aggression against China to 1945, but the essence of the challenge is similarly rooted in clashing judgments of both the critical 1945-53 era and end of the Cold War.

1. Gilbert Rozman, “China’s Concurrent Debate about the Gorbachev Era,” in Thomas P. Bernstein and Hua-Yu Li, eds., China Learns from the Soviet Union, 1949-Present (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010), pp. 449-76.

2. Gilbert Rozman, “Chinese Theory after the Fourteenth Congress,” 1993; Gilbert Rozman, “The 1980s-1990s: Seen Through IR Theory in China and Russia,” in Gilbert Rozman, ed., Misunderstanding Asia: International Relations Theory and Asian Studies over Half a Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 85-103.

3. Gilbert Rozman, “Regionalism in Northeast Asia: Korea’s Return to Center Stage,” in Charles K. Armstrong, Gilbert Rozman, Samuel S. Kim, and Stephen Kotkin, eds., Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006), pp. 151-66.

4. Gilbert Rozman, “China’s Quest for Great Power Identity,” Orbis, Vol. 43, No.3 (Summer 1999), pp. 383-404.

5. Wang Shaoling, Zhongguoren xinmuzhongde Hanguo xingxiang (Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 2009); Dong Xiangrong, Wang Shaoling, Li Yongchun, Hanguoren xinmuzhongde Zhongguo xingxiang (Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 2011); Wei Zhijiang, “Lun Zhonghan zhanlue hezuo huoban guanxi de jianli jiqi yingxiang, Dangdai Yatai, No. 4, 2008, pp. 59-69; Xu Wenji, “Zhonghan jianjiao 15 zhounian shuangbian guanxi pandian yu qianjing zhanwang,” Dongbeiya Luntan, No. 7, 2007, pp. 39-44.

6. Wang Shaoling, Zhongguoren xinmuzhongde Hanguo xingxiang (Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 2009), pp. 386, 403.

7. Wei Zhijiang, “Lun Zhonghan zhanlue hezuo huoban guanxi de jianli jiqi yingxiang.”.

8. Xu Wenji, “Zhonghan jianjiao 15 zhounian shuangbian guanxi pandian yu qianjing zhanwang,”

9. Ibid.

10. Zhang Huizhi and Wang Xiaoke, “Zhonghan guanxi 20 nian: Chengjiu yu wenti,” Xiandai Guoji Guanxi, No. 1, 2013, pp. 20-27.

11. Gilbert Rozman, “Strategic Thought on the Korean Peninsula,” in Gilbert Rozman, ed., Chinese Strategic Thought toward Asia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 177-9; Gilbert Rozman, Strategic Thinking about the Korean Nuclear Crisis: Four Powers Caught between North Korea and the United  States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, rev ed.,2011).

12. Gilbert Rozman, “Chinese Views of South Korean History,The Asan Forum, Vol. 4, No. 4 (2016); Jin Linbo, “Chinese Views of Korean History in the Cold War Era,” Yun Sun, “The Chinese Perception of the U.S.-China-ROK Triangle,” in Gilbert Rozman, ed., Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies—A Whirlwind of Change in East Asia: Assessing Shifts in Strategy, Trade, and the Role of North Korea, (Washington, DC: Korea Economic Institute, 2018), pp. 150-77.

13. Zhang Huizhi and Wang Xiaoke, “Zhonghan guanxi 20 nian.”

14. Bi Yingda, “Chaoxian bandao xin xingshixia shenhua Zhonghan anchuan hezuode sikao,” Xiandai Guoji Guanxi, No. 10, 2019, pp. 35-41.

15. Danielle Cohen, “Country Report: China,” The Asan Forum, December 2019.

16. Zhang Huizhi and Jin Xiangdan, “Xin xingshixia Zhongguo yu Chaoxian bandao jingji guanxi: xianzhuang yu qianjing,” Dongbeiya Xuekan, No. 1, 2019, pp. 8-21.

17. Bi Yingda, “Chaoxian bandao xin xingshixia shenhua Zhonghan anchuan hezuode sikao.”

18. Gu Weijian, “Moon Jae-in zhengfu Chaohe zhengce de tezheng jiqi mianlin de kunjing,” Guoji Luntan, No. 6, 2019, pp. 125-39.

19. Jin Dongzhu, “Shilun Chaoxian bandao xingshi huanhe de guocheng, chengin yu fazhan chushi,” Dongbeiya Xuekan, No. 6, 2018, pp. 3-8.

20. Bi Yingda, “Chaoxian bandao xin xingshixia shenhua Zhonghan anchuan hezuode sikao.”

21. Wei Zongyou, “’Meiguo youxian’ dui Meihan, Meiri tongmeng de yingxiang,” Guoji Wenti Yanjiu, No. 6, 2019, pp. 84-98.

22. Guo Rui, “Xin shiqi tuidong Zhonghan guanxi fazhan de silu tantao,” Dongbeiya Xuekan, No. 1, 2019, pp. 36-44.

23. Ibid.

#Cheonan Incident #Cold War #COVID-19 #Kim Jong-un #Koguryo dispute #Moon Jae-in #THAAD #US-ROK alliance #WWII #Xi Jinping