South Korea and poor play of an actor that is clear even for the US

There appeared people in South Korea who heavily criticize international policy of President Park Geun-hye known as “For China, against Japan”, they urge to “get back at cooperation with overseas allies”. These people state that opposing Japan is nice, but it will definitely develop into estrangement from the US, which will ruin the country.


“Keep eyes open with China”

Cho Gab-je is the coordinator of the group. He was for a long time a head of Monthly Chosun magazine. He is one of the ideological leaders of conservative movement. Being in opposition he created headquarters of national conservatives’ movement. This public figure was born in 1945 and sometimes was the leader of mass protests.

He has certain activity in the internet mass media, particularly the site that fully expresses his opinion. Along with spreading Cho Gab-je’s ideas it also gives a chance for young authors and leaders of conservative movement to express their own opinion.

On 23 August  he published a big article called “Keep eyes open with China while hiding a dagger “. I will cite the most significant part of the article.

“The ”South Korea-the US” union is a link in coalition between South Korea, the US and Japan. If relations between South Korea and Japan deteriorate the whole coalition will cease to function normally. When the war started on the Korean peninsula, Japan was a rear base for allied army of the USA and the Republic of Korea.  The government of Park Geun-hye will come to the limit in its pro-Chinese and anti-Japanese policy sooner or later” – he wrote speaking about the risk of the “For China, against Japan” policy.

On 27 August another article of the journalist with the name KIm was published on There he wrote: “If South Korea overcomes its negative feelings towards Japan and Japan overcomes its hatred to Korea, and limits the influence of the past, then they will get rid of a real problem presented by the Chinese Communist party and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The main points of the article are presented below.


We will protect Taiwan, but not South Korea

-The USA doesn’t oppose right wing ideas of Japan. The reason is that Japan holds back China in North-East Asia which cannot be done by the US itself.

– Park’s government adheres to the policy of deterrence of Japan through China. This is a false policy as it is connected with a strong probability of errors in foreign policy of the country. As the result, position of South Korea in North-East Asia may weaken.

Conservative mass media of South Korea doesn’t usually strongly criticize the main direction of foreign policy of the government. It is easy to understand their fear of weakening of the alliance or, in other words, estrangement between the US and Republic of Korea which is caused by strained relations between Japan and South Korea.

Actually, severe criticism of Japan’s right deviation and anti-Japan sentiments that caused “hatred of Japan towards Korea” completely cooled down the feeling for supporting security in South Korea among Japanese.

In case of emergency situation on the Korean peninsula, Japan being under the threat of attack from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will doubt whether to support  the US army in South Korea or not.

Nowadays “the hatred towards Korea” slows down the realization of the right for collective self-defense that is under discussion in Japan. It is considered that if Japan has this right, then the possibility of Japan’s participation in the Second Korean war will be higher.

Even among the ranks of supporters for the realization of the right for collective self-defense in Japan the following attitude is spreading with the speed of light: “Japanese security forces must fight together with the US army for the defense of Vietnam, Philippines and Taiwan that are friendly states to Japan. However, Japanese do not have to shed their blood for South Korea which is always opposing Japan and pleasing China.”


Against the Olympic Games and rights for self-defense

On the other hand, for the present moment the government of South Korea does not express its attitude towards the right of Japan for collective self-defense. The government of Korea knows that the US originally declared about this right. With all that, China is against it. South Korea that had chosen anti-Japanese direction does not support China’s position.

Mass media stands against it as united front. Anti-Japan sentiments became like a religion for the Korean society. Whether it is a bid to host the Olympic Games or the right for collective defense, South Korea opposes Japan in any case. Though, it does not happen without pressure from China.

In such situation Cho in his article of 28 August “Realization of the right of Japan for collective defense is profitable for Republic of Korea” called Koreans to support Japan in its right for self-defense.

Traditionally, Korean conservatives think that well coordinated alliance between Japan and the USA increases South Korea’s security. On the basis of the article, we may come to the conclusion that their thought is: “We cannot lose such a good opportunity”.

If Democratic People’s Republic of Korea deploys the missiles with nuclear warheads, the war will start.

Conservatives of South Korea already had the cases of “losing opportunities”. In 2012 Li’s government refused to sign a military agreement between Japan and South Korea at the very day of signing (referring to the third paragraph in the first part of the treaty on supporting Japan by South Korean army in case of confrontation with China).

Among all the leaders of the party, Park’s idea which supported the closest ties with China won in the party in power. Up till now journalist Kim does not hide his sadness: “The treaty must have contributed to the country’s security, but we have lost this priceless treasure”.

So, why conservatives of South Korea started to beat the alarm warning about the danger of anti-Japanese policy?

The case is that the nuclear program of DPRK is moving step by step and conservatives’ anxiety is connected with increasing menace of war. For Republic of Korea itself the importance of “rear base” represented by Japan is growing so that it creates tension inside the country.

In his article “Keep eyes open with China” Cho describes the risk of the situation that emerged around South Korea (the paragraph about deploying the missiles with nuclear warheads is cited below).


Direct strike on Seoul after 7 minutes of launch

-DPRK will miniaturize missile warheads, place it on ballistic missiles that Korea already has and the strike of which will reach Seoul in 7 minutes.

-There is no way of protection from this strike. The half of the population lives in metropolitan district, and 70 % of energy is concentrated here. South Korea will be destroyed by this strike.

-After the nuclear strike South Korea will threaten the USA: “If there is a second-strike we will launch nuclear missiles in direction of USA and Japan”. It is unknown whether the USA will attack DPRK back in such situation.

-In such circumstances, North Korea can take South Korea hostage by just arming with nuclear missiles and then everything will be according to their guidance.

-To avoid being taken hostage South Korea must develop a plan on breakdown of DPRK that will also prevent creation of nuclear missiles and stop the work of atomic physicists.

-For the preparation to wide war it is necessary to either destroy the enemy’s missiles, or get the nuclear weapon for defense.

In February 2012 threats from the side of DPRK on using nuclear weapon were heard three times in succession. At first the attention of the whole world was drawn to Korea, lots of military journalists came to Seoul, but once the hype was over everybody forgot about it. However, for South Korea the DPRK’s program is still like the delayed-action bomb.


The most effective way is to have own nuclear weapon

Conservatives of Japan as opposed to Korean do not stand against China and even support it sometimes. The reason for it is that they see DPRK as their main enemy and to be secured from aggression they need to keep relations with China on a good level.

However, Cho and his supporters do not confine themselves to appeals to deny the anti-Japanese policy. They even criticize pro-Chinese direction. What is the connection?

The reason is that China continues to cover North Korea which is developing its nuclear program. In the end of June on the summit between Republic of Korea and China Xi Jinping didn’t even mention “nuclear disarmament of DPRK”.

Besides, he made President Park give a promise to disarm the Korean peninsula. Conservatives of Korea interpreted it as statement of China that it is prohibited for Republic of Korea to develop nuclear weapon.

66 % of population in South Korea supports nuclear weapon. They together with Cho in the above mentioned article think that own nuclear weapon is the most effective way to oppose the North.

Before the summit China continued to whisper in South Korea’s ear: “If you draw me closer I will put you above North Korea”. Koreans joyfully sent the president Park Geun-hye to Beijing to have meeting.


China winded round Park’s little finger

Koreans were shocked by such cold greetings in Beijing after such promises. Distrust and suspicion to China from the side of conservative part of population which give great consideration to country’s security increased dramatically and proved their decision to come back to the side of overseas allies led by the USA.

The headline of the article “Keep eyes open with China while hiding a dagger“ reflects their determination. In the beginning of the article Cho wrote the following:

-We cannot abandon nuclear weapon meant for defense by giving up to China’s tricks.

-Entering Japanese and American system of medium-range ballistic missiles will neutralize nuclear missiles of China.

-China strives for hegemony in North-East Asia. For this it needs to destroy the alliance between South Korea, USA and Japan.

-China wants to weaken or even destroy the alliance between South Korea and the USA during its process of uniting the Korean peninsula.

-The habit of admiration for the power of China is still in the mind of some Koreans. They will support the damage of the alliance with the USA and stand for neutral position.

I didn’t see any articles that openly stand up for the confrontation with China and friendship with the USA which also means mending of ties with Japan. South Korean mass media traditionally abounds in anti-Japanese articles.


An appeal to Obama

For example let’s take the article of the South Korean newspaper Korean JoongAng Daily editor-in-chief published on September 4 and examine the paragraphs that are common for such publications:

-Actions of Japan with the aim of getting the right for collective self-defense are suspicious. With the help of it Japan would send its army to the Korean peninsula without any strike on its territories.

-The USA approves of armament of Japan because they need its power in controlling China. Actually, the USA play the same game as Japan in relation to Asian countries including measures on prevention of financial crisis which is also connected with controlling of China.

-I want to ask the USA: “Did you really forget Pearl-Harbor?”  Attack of militarized Japan on the USA was predicted by Yi Seung-man who was the fighter (and future president) for the independence of Korea. He warned the president family of Roosevelt and the USA’s secretary of state, but nobody listened to him.

-Republic of Korea and China must show their discontent about armament of Japan on the negotiations with the USA. The US must think through its concerns and decide whether they are ready to give more power to Japan and less to South Korea and also to remove China from the list of its allies. We want president Obama not to repeat President Roosevelt’s mistake.


Block Japan behind the back of USA and China

“Japan and the USA want to unite their forces and block China” – Cho and Kim do not disprove generally accepted opinion on the situation, but their attitude towards Japan is opposed to that of the government, as they stand for the alliance with Japan.

An editor-in-chief Yi completely supports foreign policy of the South Korean government in the article “Agreement between South Korea, the USA and China”. On the basis of such position it is logical to use the alliance between South Korea and the USA and block Japan and earn China’s goodwill.

On the other hand, Cho thinks that “it is impossible to connect the USA and China – it is illusion. Coming back to overseas allies is the only way to survive”. It goes without saying that it cannot be done without mending ties with Japan.

Policy “agreement between South Korea, the USA and China” of Park’s government or the way to get on the side of the most powerful among the USA and China is based on three pillars.

  1. To get closer with China by maintaining relations with the USA.
  2. Define Japan and DPRK as countries to support the USA and China.
  3. Complain to the whole world about “right deviation of Japan” and “absence of understanding of its war crimes”.

Actually the third point is the main one. As a result, the first and second points support it.

Is the policy of invisibility possible?

-South Korea, after it weakens the status of Japan in international community, will take its place. The USA will not only rule Korea.

-If the USA demands South Korea to sign a military convention with Japan and to join the circle around China Korea will try to avoid it by saying: “We strive for it with all our heart, but the right deviation of Japan and mass anti-Korean sentiments make it impossible”, without showing its original pro-Chinese direction.

-The USA doesn’t react on blocking Japan by China. South Korea instead of China begins to criticize Japan to the USA. South Korea shows its significance by pleasing China.

It seems that the third point is an integral part of South Korean foreign policy because whether the President Park goes to the USA or China, or meets with the leaders of Russia and Germany, she zealously criticizes Japan everywhere.

However, can such foreign policy and inconstancy in relation to the USA and China be endless? Until South Korea is not important enough for its neighbors, neither the USA nor China will listen to its orders.

As they say, guilty mind is never at ease. The government of China thought that “South Korea became so impudent as it is in the alliance with the USA and asks to bring it closer than DPRK” and offered it to join the coalition.


Typical dependence

If the USA becomes interested in two-faced foreign policy of South Korea then it will hit the ceiling: “If you want to join the medium-range ballistic missiles program you should stop wrangling and excuses in relation to Japan and prove your devotion to the alliance”.

Kim wrote about this: “Intellectuals of the USA and Japan see the process of transition of Republic of Korea from overseas allies to the allies on the continent”. It is really so. There are probably not so many people in South Korea who can tell the truth to their fellow-citizens, but it is an accepted view among specialists in Asia.

At first I heard about it in January 2008 on the public discussion on the symposium of the centre “East-West” held in Bangkok.

When severe discussion on the topic of “what countries will oppose the strengthening of China” started, almost all the specialists from different countries agreed that the Republic of Korea will be the first who will take the position of China.

In November 2012 Edward N. Luttwak, the senior associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, mentioned in his book called “The rise of China vs. The logic of Strategy” about “dependence of South Korea on China on the DNA level” and also about “dimly motivated hatred in relation to Japan”.

In the 16th chapter “Is Korea a typical vassal of China in the Celestial Empire?” Luttwak wrote the following:

-The Republic of Korea is dependent on the ability of the USA to confront the large-scale war with DPRK, and also on China which can survive a strike. However, the USA cannot be satisfied with such situation. Because in this case the half of the risk and costs on security of South Korea that will be up to the USA must be handed over to China as a reverse side of influence on this country.

-Position of the Republic of Korea to avoid the responsibility of ensuring security reflects hidden wish to start war with Japan. While Chinese fishing vessels expand their unlawful activity near the costs of the country, South Korea continues to be in bad temper with absolutely harmless country. Thus, the statue of a Korean woman which meant “women for consolation” was set in front of the Japanese consulate in Seoul.

-Such retreat from reality harms the influence of the country on the international level and its position as an ally. It makes Korea more exposed to the country which is really dangerous.

The USA and Japan watch the anti-Japanese play of an actor which is South Korea and gradually lose their interest. Supporters of Cho who have seen such inconstancy gave a warning: “Such game won’t be long!” However it is not known whether the Park’s government will pass from the picture or not.

China applauds to the performance of South Korea

The thing is that this performance has grateful viewer ready to sing its praises. On August 26 Ban Ki-moon, who took a post of Secretary-General of the UN being Foreign minister of the Republic of Korea, made a speech in the Korean language in Seoul in which he warned about wish of Japan to change the constitution.

The government and mass media of Japan criticized it and interpreted it as “interference in domestic policy”, after that Ban Ki-moon gave his apologies, but diplomatic department of China immediately supported him.

On 29 August the article about these events was published in Chosun Ilbo newspaper with the headline “Impudent Japanese mass media fiercely criticize Secretary General of the UN” and it was followed by “China agreed with the statements”.

Koreans who finally pleased China for their anti-Japanese statements were glad. That is why Mr. Cho can point out that “everybody sees through everything” as much as he wants, but South Korea will stay the same.

Original article is copyrighted by


Translated by Elizaveta Chepkovskaya, APIR Center

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