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Sean King Park Strategies – Xi’s Visit to Seoul

Sean King, Vice President at Park Strategies, says Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea isn’t about North Korea but rather, it is an “anti-Japan and U.S. play.”

 

Transcript below:

Sean King Park Strategies:

I don’t think North Korea has anything to do with this. Who would want to go to North Korea in the first place? This is about China and South Korea forming a united front against Japan over matters of history and China trying to get South Korea on it’s side, away from the U.S. and South Korea who can always be a little prickly at times, letting Washington know it can’t be taken for granted and it’s not going to be like Japan and fall in line whenever America wants it to. So this really has nothing to do with North Korea. This is more of an anti-Japan and by extension anti-U.S. play.

 

Commentator (m):

So it does not necessarily mean the Beijing no longer has Pyongyang’s back. Does it suggest that China is no longer prepared to contain the nuclear ambitions of Pyongyang?

 

Sean King:

Well, they always say that but they never do anything about it. When it comes time to enforce UN sanctions they always fall short and they insist on saying: due denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as if South Korea is somehow also guilty of this. They refuse to say North Korea is due denuclearization. So it’s a cop-out for them. They aren’t going to do anything about it. They aren’t really an ally of North Korea anyway. It’s an irritant that they can live with because it helps stop a united Korea because China cannot yet live with that. But I would not use the word ‘Allies’ to describe them anyway.

 

Commentator (f):

Sean it is a very, very strange day for Asian geopolitics, isn’t it? You’ve got that visit between China and South Korea. Then, you’ve got President Abe, Prime minister Abe in Japan announcing this deal with North Korea to ease the sanctions. Should the US be worried by all of this?

 

Sean King:

Yeah. Probably. I think the US would prefer he not ease these sanctions. First of all: These sanctions are Japan’s own; they don’t diminish UN sanctions. These are Japan’s own sanctions on North Korea. But I think the US is going to give Abe a pass on this one, only because it deal with the abductions. And any leader’s first responsibility is to protect the lives of his citizens. I don’t know what we would do if our citizens were in this situation, in case they were kidnapped by Canada one day. So, I think we’re going to give Abe a pass. But I don’t want to make it a habit of giving in to North Korea on things. I’ve heard somebody suggest that Abe announce that these sanctions easing just to upstage Xi and Park yesterday in Seoul. I can’t believe that because the meeting with North Korea was in Beijing so if there was any chance of upstaging China’s visit to Korea why did Beijing allow the to take place in Beijing in the first place. So, it’s just coincidence.

 

Commentator (f):

That’s a really good point. Let’s talk about the economic side of this meeting. They’re talking about a free trade agreement that should be hammered out by the end of this year. Is this really feasible?

 

Sean King:

Yes, I think so. China is South Korea’s number one export market. I think South Korea is China’s number five foreign investor. I had to laugh to myself a couple of years ago, when they were talking about a China/South Korean Trilateral FTA. I thought: ‘Yeah, right.’ Considering their feelings toward Japan. I think they hate Japan enough that they’ll do this and it also complicates South Korea’s potential entry into the TPP. If you say the TPP is an economic box-out of China in Asia then how can you consider a country that has a FTA with China a part of it especially when they have their own FTA with the US? So, it’s a very complicated day indeed.

 

Commentator (m):

Sean you touched on this earlier: Sino/US relations are going to be in principle focus next week, with the strategic economic dialog ion Beijing. Given the maritime disputes, cyber security threats as well, the atmospherics going into this dialog are not entirely positive.

 

Sean King:

That’s fine with me. US/Sino relations are always in focus, and if they don’t go well it means we’re standing up for what we believe in and defending out allies’ rights, like Japan. Just like President Obama said in Japan April, being the first sitting US President to say so, that the Senkaku Islands fall under Article 5 of the US Japan Defense Treaties. So, things may not go well. I think the SED is a waste of time anyway, as I said last year on this show. So if nothing happens: that’s fine.

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