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“KOREA-CHINA SECURITY FORUM”: ISSUES AND DIRECTIONS..
김진욱  2009-09-23 16:46:17, 조회 : 15,520, 추천 : 2177




“KOREA-CHINA SECURITY FORUM”: ISSUES AND DIRECTIONS

                                    - Kim Jinwoog; the President of Korea Research Institute of Military Affairs




Throughout the Cold War, there were no official relations between China and the Republic of Korea. Whereas China maintained close relations with North Korea, The Republic of Korea maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan. This hindered trade and economic relations between Beijing and Seoul because both countries were unable to protect their citizens and business interests without some form of international agreements. Beijing's economic needs involving The Republic of Korea were initially eclipsed by those of Moscow.  

With the establishment of diplomatic ties with The Republic of Korea since 1992, China has been trying to put an end to the uncomfortable relationship with The Republic of Korea. China was broadening the scope of its external cooperation with countries of free market economy as of The Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea also was willing to build and promote a new amicable relationship with China. The relationship between China and The Republic of Korea has been related to the North East Asian security dynamics involving neighboring states. Both countries have been largely influenced by the Cold-War security framework since 1945.

The Cold War ideology and mindset have compelled policy-makers, security specialists and researchers of both countries to follow a certain standpoint promoted by Eastern and Western blocs in which they choose to take side with. The security alliance regime originated by Korean War, the improvement of Korea-China relationship was more intricate. Even though there were many common interests between China and The Republic of Korea in the improved relationship, their relations were constrained to a limited degree of official cooperation. Even in the post-Cold War era, China is constrained by North Korean factors and the Republic of Korea is restricted by US factors in their bilateral political and security relations.

In spite of the remaining of the Cold War problems, there have been various developments of multilateral cooperation, dialogues and regimes in North East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region especially since the late 1980s. Regionalism in the Asia Pacific has been evolving in various areas from security to trade, finance and economy. Multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific involves various countries and participants from government officials to non-governmental scholars and specialists.

Southeast Asian countries are searching for a middle power leadership via ASEAN-led multilateral regimes and institutions. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has been the main forum since its establishment in 1989 to facilitate trade, business, investment, technology and economic cooperation involving 21 Pacific Rim countries. And the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. It was established in 1985 by India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

In the security realm, the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum) established in 1993, has enhanced dialogues through annual conferences to discuss about various security issues in the Asia-Pacific. The East Asian Summit (EAS) has been held since 2005 involving China, The Republic of Korea, Japan, ASEAN plus India, Australia and New Zealand but excluding the US and North Korea. In North East Asia surrounding two Koreas, the Six-Parties Talk has been held to solve the problems of North Korean nuclear/missile issues. And The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Even though there are several security regimes in which North East Asian countries take part, these Asian security regimes are not yet matured as OSCE (The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe). That’s because of remaining Cold-War confrontation and distrust among countries due to the long history and territorial disputes unsolved. It is rigid governmental policy-decision-making process for external affairs caused by national political situation and narrow, short-term national interests, that makes East Asian security competitive and retrogrades against the hope for bringing peace for the people suffered from confrontation, war and conflicts in the last century.

Given these prevailing constraints surrounding Korea-China relationship in North East Asia, “the Korea-China Security Forum” was introduced by two civil institutes of both the countries in 2000. Those meetings were organized and co-hosted by Chinese People’s Association for Friendly Contact (CPAFC) and Korea Research Institute of Military Affairs (KRIMA). This innovative new alternative approach has been developing to Annual Security Forum involving high official’s participations. The Forum holds annual meetings unofficially at non-governmental level since 2002. The annual meetings of the Security Forum have been held six times from 2002 to 2008 except 2003 (1st, 3rd, and 5th meetings were held in Beijing, and 2nd, 4th and 6th meetings took place in Seoul.

Today this Security Forum has grown up to provide an important network for the cooperation and confidence-building of security specialists and for the exchange of information between China and The Republic of Korea. This unofficial security forum at non-governmental level involves various participants including security experts from general-level to lower-level, both active and reserved, as well as military experts and military researchers from both countries. The Forum has debated various security issues surrounding North-East Asia, two Koreas and China-Korea relationship which has contributed to the formal decision making: 'critical challenges against Peace of North East Asia'; 'Korea-China cooperation for peace of Korean peninsula'; 'the role of US forces in Korea for North East Asian Security'; and 'Six Party Talks and North Korean Nuclear Issue'.

This alternative security framework established as the Security Forum has played a unique and constructive role in improving Korea-China relationship and the two Koreas with a long term objective of bringing peace and stability in East Asia. In the long term, the Security Forum also aims to build an “alternative multi-lateral security scheme” in North East Asia, connected to ‘Korea-Japan Security Forum’ which has been held annually between Korea and Japan since 2003.





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