7th Korea-Japan Dialogue on East Asian Security 2018
|Date:||Saturday, November 10 2018|
|Venue:||Room 306, Asia Center, Seoul Nationnal University|
|Subject:||7th Korea-Japan Dialogue on East Asian Security 2018|
Program on US-China Relations, Seoul National University
Security Studies Unit, Policy Alternatives Research Institute,
the University of Tokyo
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – Half-day Seminar
Welcome Remarks and Opening Remarks 14:30-14:45
Welcome Remarks: Jae Ho CHUNG (Seoul National University)
Opening Remarks: Akio TAKAHARA (The University of Tokyo)
Session 1 14:45-16:00 on US-China Relations and Northeast Asia
Moderator: Jae Ho CHUNG (Seoul National University)
Presenters: Hankwon KIM (Korean National Diplomatic Academy)
Toshiya TSUGAMI (Japan Institute of International Affairs)
Coffee Break 16:00-16:15
Session 2 16:15-18:00 on Assessing Korea-China and Japan China Relations
Moderator: Akio TAKAHARA (The University of Tokyo)
Presenters: Jaecheol KIM (Catholic University)
Kazuko Kojima (Keio University)
Closing Remarks 18:00-18:10
Jae Ho CHUNG (Seoul National University)
Akio TAKAHARA (The University of Tokyo)
Report on the 7th Korea-Japan Dialogue on East Asian Security 2018
On November 10, 2018, a Japanese delegation arrived in Seoul, more precisely at the Seoul National University, to attend to this year’s “Japan-Korea Dialogue”, a workshop on security in East Asia, hosted by Seoul National University. The venue was the Asia Research Center at the same institution.
The event stated at around 14:30. The first session concerned US-China relations and Northeast Asia. Prof. Han Kwon KIM from the Korean National Institute for International Education delivered the very first presentation. According to his views, US-China relations are experiencing a transition period due to China’s rise. While Xi Jinping’s policy is the proactive “奮発有為” (to try hard and accomplish one’s own purpose), the US policy has shifted towards a combination of the Indo-Pacific strategy and active trade negotiations, diverging from President Obama’s rebalancing policy and TPP. The following discussion centred on the denuclearization of North Korea, strategic relations of China and North Korea, and the Taiwan issue. Each of these items relates to the opening of the strategic competitive relation between US and China. However, China may be forced into a compromising policy “韜光養晦” (to conceal one's strengths and bide one's time) 2.0.
Following Professor Kim, Mr. Toshiya Tsugami, an expert on Chinese economy, head of his own thinktank and visiting researcher at The Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA), delivered a presentation. He first analysed the causes that induced the United States to start a trade war on China. He argued that, although there was a consensus on taking a tougher stance on China, the Trump administration was divided into three groups: a faction seeking continued hegemony, a faction seeking free trade, and an “anti-trade faction". Thus, there was no consensus on a definition of the “China problem”, and on how the US should respond to it.
China, like Japan in the 1980s, is aiming at catching-up with the most advanced economies. Mr. Tsugami claimed that this very thought incited anti-China sentiment in the United States. According to him, Japan should focus on an effort to protect free trade, which US is currently damaging, through influencing both US and China.
Following these presentations, numerous questions and comments followed. For example, a question on the purpose and effect of China's foreign policy manifesting “new international relations” and “human-destined communities" was raised. Presenters articulated the view that Chinese government is trying to show to the public that China’s international status had been upgraded, thus strengthening domestic support. Concerning the question of whether US-China relations may deteriorate, and how difficult Japan and South Korea’s position may become be, presenters stated that in such case, Japan’s interest would differ from that of US, and that Japan should work hard on cooperation with like-minded people within the US.
The theme of the second session was Korea-China relations and Japan-China relations. Professor Jae Cheol KIM from the Catholic University of Korea made the first presentation on Korea-China relations. These relations have deteriorated in 2016 due to the deployment of THAAD missiles in Korea, and China's economic sanctions against it. Yet, since the visit of President Moon at the end of 2017, commercial relations have gradually resumed. The dialogue between defence authorities has also recovered. However, the dispute over the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) is ongoing, and the penetration of PLA aircraft into Korea's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which constitutes another source of friction. In September, Korean Navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles from the Parcel Islands, triggering a formal protest from the Chinese government. Antagonising national sentiment in both countries have not yet healed. According to the presenter, the difference in the respective positions over the North Korea nuclear issue is at the centre of such frictions, as China is concerned with a diminution of its influence caused by a rapid denuclearization led by South Korea and the United States.
Next, Dr. Kazuko Kojima, Associate Professor at Keio University, delivered a presentation on the theme of Japan-China relations. Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official visit to China brought great expectations for the business sector, there has been no change in the basic structural factors which have been destabilising bilateral relations since the 1990s, and there is no change in the Japan-China gap over the code of conduct in diplomatic relations. There is indeed serious disagreement. Japan-China relations have shifted because overtime numerous elements around the two nations have changed. The loss of the common anti-Soviet strategic posture has weakened Japan’s role as mediator with China. The international community attitude towards Beijing has changed due to China’s market reforms. The Chinese emphasis on “patriotism” (and some anti-Japanese sentiment), which the Chinese Communist Party is utilizing as a tool to govern the country after the declining power of socialist ideology, all have contributed to this situation. In addition, Japan and China do not share the same norms and values on intellectual property rights, overseas investment practices, protection of personal data in cyber space, and so on. According to Dr. Kojima, Japan and other middle power countries should work on institution building, whether bilaterally or multilaterally, in order to protect sovereignty, interests, and values from power politics.
Numerous questions and opinions were also raised to these presentations. As for the analysis according to which China does not need Korea, one pointed out that Korea is playing a large role in the industrial supply chain, and that China knows the importance of it, but also that Beijing has improved its technological capabilities, thus leading to competition between the two countries in certain sectors. A lively discussion ensued over the issues of Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, the Korean Peninsula, as well as the Free and Open India-Pacific Strategy. Some pointed out that Japanese diplomacy has expanded its scope and gained more autonomy due to US-China friction. Others argued that President Moon’s government probably consider nuclear development as quite reasonable from the viewpoint of North Korea's security.
Other attendees on the Korean side were Jae Ho CHUNG, Professor at Seoul National University, and Dr. Beomchul SHIN, researcher at The Asan Institute for Policy Studies.