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Title: China, a Unified Korea, and Geopolitics
Authors: Yoshihara, Toshi;Holmes, James
Keywords: geopolitics;Alfred Thayer Mahan;maritime strategy;Korean unification;PRC-Korean relations
Date: 2005-06
Issue Date: 2016-10-24 15:45:57 (UTC+8)
Abstract: How will the People's Republic of China respond to the unification of Korea? This study hypothesizes that some sort of reconciliation process, leading ultimately to reunification, will take place on the Korean Peninsula over the next decade. It postulates that Korean unification would occur without an armed conflict that would poison relations between North and South, and that it would leave the peninsula under the control of Seoul. Unification would give birth to a sizable regional power whether measured by population, industrial capacity, or military capability. The study considers how China would respond to these striking developments. In so doing, it identifies dynamics that would influence China's response, even should unification play out in a less benign fashion than hypothesized here. Viewed from Beijing, a united Korea, especially one that played host to U.S. military and naval forces, could cast a long shadow over China's seaborne commerce, the wellspring of economic vitality for northern China. In recent years it has become abundantly clear that Beijing will play a crucial role in the future of Korea. Despite the intellectual and policy attention accorded China's role on the peninsula, one factor remains woefully unexplored: the influence of geopolitics on Chinese strategic thought. This essay argues that geopolitics is alive and well in East Asia. China's history will shape its attitude toward Korean unifica1ion and impart a distinct geographical hue to its foreign policy calculations. Beijing will resist the emergence of a pro-American Korea that could imperil China's access to East Asian and Pacific waterways. It will formulate its regional policy and maritime strategy accordingly.
Relation: Issues & Studies,41(2),119-169
Data Type: article
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