Between Two Giants: The Korean Dilemma within U.S.-China Competition

The intensifying theme of great power competition between the U.S. and China has major implications for the Korean Peninsula, its future unification and the U.S. alliance system in Northeast Asia. Most directly, China could be even more reluctant to change the status quo on the Korean peninsula in the hope of maintaining leverage against the U.S. and its allies during great power competition. These prospects pose significant challenges to the policy of South Korea politically and in terms of its security policy. Complicating matters for South Korea even more is the U.S.-China trade war, which is reshaping supply chains across Asia and poses the risk of aggravating competition on the Peninsula. With U.S.-China relations at a perilously low point, understanding South Korea’s position and dilemma, between an ally and a strategic partner, is central to assessing South Korea’s policy direction. Dr. Byung Kwang Park will discuss the characteristics of U.S.-China competition and how the Korean policy community views the implications of this renewed great power competition on the Korean peninsula. The discussion will also feature comments by Stimson Visiting Fellow Dr. Zheng Jiyong on China’s policy toward South Korea in the era of great power competition.

Join the Stimson Center’s East Asia Program for a panel discussion on South Korea in the era of great power competition on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm. Lunch will be served.


Dr. Byung Kwang Park, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for National Security Strategy; Adjunct Professor, Kyung-Hee

Dr. Byung Kwang Park is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS) and an adjunct professor at Kyung-Hee University in Seoul. He advises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff and Air Force, and the National Unification Advisory Council. He was previously the president of the Korean Association of Area Studies and has been a research fellow at Tokyo University, Seoul National University, National Chengchi University, and the ASAN Institute for Policy Studies. His main research field focuses on China’s foreign policy towards Northeast Asian counties, including China’s relationship with the Korean Peninsula.

Dr. Zheng Jiyong, Associate Professor and Director, Center for Korean Studies, Fudan University, and Secretary-General, Shanghai Institute of Korean Studies

Dr. Zheng Jiyong is Associate Professor and Director at the Center for Korean Studies, Fudan University, and Secretary-General of the Shanghai Institute of Korean Studies. He is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Stimson Center. His research focuses on domestic politics in the two Koreas, bilateral and multilateral relations related to the Korean peninsula, and the policy-making processes in the DPRK, ROK, and China.

RSVP using the form below:

Part of the Chinese Foreign Policy Project  and the Project .
Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices