The Soongsil Times
Foreign Diplomacy of Korea
Kim Seong-soo  |
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[170호] 승인 2017.07.26  15:18:16
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 When we look back at our country’s history, we could see that we have strived a lot to survive between strong countries. We continuously got attacks from nearest countries, and were even ruled by Mongolians and Japanese. Especially, when I look at the reasons why we were ruled by Japanese, I feel so pitiful. Until the mid-19th century, both Joseon and Japan had the same policy of isolating their country from the Western civilization. However, we should take a closer look at how both countries have reacted. Japan was surprised by the advanced forces that overwhelmed them and the oppressive diplomacy. However, they quickly understood the nature of the international situation and began to adapt quickly. They embraced Western civilization and responded to the changing international order. During the similar period, Joseon too was challenged by the outside world. Nevertheless, Joseon lacked the ability to cope with the outside world and to respond to new trends. Therefore, our nation ended up being invaded by the Japanese who had a rapid growth in civilization. The problem did not end up here. During the Second World War, we were unable to defeat Japan by ourselves, and Korean Peninsula was divided into two nations as foreign forces were intervened. Soon after, the Korean War broke out, and we are continuing this Cold War confrontation, with the ensuing division of the divided peninsula. Thus, the misguided judgment and determination of political leaders on foreign affairs and security influence not only at that moment but also the fate of the descendants. The effects are enormous.


Korean Peninsula remains the only remaining Cold War island in the world. North Korea is threatening to develop nuclear weapons and missiles to maintain its regime and survival. the outside world is changing rapidly and affecting the Korean Peninsula. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Korea in 2014 and stressed that the China helped Joseon during the Japanese Invasion of Korea which was in 1592. Now, Japan is strengthening its military, and after Abe administration, the relationship between South Korea and Japan became so aggravated that it became very emotional. Recently, South Korea tried to deploy a missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula and therefore, China is taking revenge on it. Korea’s relationship with the nearest countries has never been this worse. As the conflict with the nearest countries States is deepening, it seems as Korea is relying more on U.S, and it looks like public agrees on this act. However, the funny thing that happened recently is that president of United States, Donald Trump tried to cost us for deploying THAAD which is totally ridiculous. Koreans were in total shock at that moment. Of course, this request was confirmed by the Pentagon that it is not true. It was just Trump’s personal opinion. I remember how the situation was at that time. It was a huge chaos and citizens were totally upset about their government because they thought the government had lied to them. Government was also confused about Trump’s remark and they scrambled to resolve the situation.

When I look at Korea’s diplomatic policy, situation and public opinions, it’s such frustrating and ridiculous. We are relying heavily on U.S, instead of trying to improve our relationship with nearest countries. Look at how foolish our country, being controlled by U.S and doing whatever they want us to do. I was personally against deploying THAAD because I thought we were just doing it for U.S’ favor. It seems to me that U.S is just trying to use us as a strategic point because of their hegemony with China. I have heard experts saying that it is practically impossible to physically intercept a number of missiles coming from North Korea, and people living in capital area are still in grave danger. Of course, it is better to have this missile defense system rather than having nothing. But I think we should have acted more wisely regarding about what happened to our relationship with China. It is true that the United States is allied with us and we should have good relationship with them, but it does not mean that we should only rely on them and confront with China. People always say that we should be thankful to U.S for helping our country, but as I said before, I think they are just treating us as a method of making money and to check China.


 So, to summarize my opinion, we should have good relationship with our nearest country and cope with them. We should not see china as an opponent, because they have huge impact on our country’s economy. Our dependence of import and export are 25 percent with China. Almost half of our tourists is from China. 72 percent of Duty-free shop sales are from Chinese tourists. For our country, good relationship with China is essential. Also, in case of Japan, I think we have lot to learn from them. Their levels of basic science, their mature civic awareness, and etc. Therefore, we should sometimes learn good things from other country even though we hate them, and in some situation, we should be able to say “No” to our ally countries, especially to U.S. It does not matter if U.S likes it or not, we should be more independent and not make the same mistake that we did hundred year ago. 

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