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Seoul's participation in 'Quad' may jeopardize regional security: S. Korean adviser

All News 01:13 October 28, 2020

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's participation in a NATO-like multilateral military alliance in the Indo-Pacific may destabilize, rather than promote security, in the region as China will treat Seoul as an enemy, a special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday.

The adviser, Moon Chung-in, also insisted the U.S.' drive to form a regional coalition against China may prompt a counter-reaction from Beijing to form an alliance with Russia and North Korea.

"The United States is our number one ally while China is our strategic cooperative partner. Therefore, our priority goes to the United States, but in doing that we have some concerns," the South Korean presidential adviser said in a webinar, co-hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington and the East Asia Foundation in Seoul.

Forum on peace in East Asia
Forum on peace in East Asia

Moon Chung-in, special security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, speaks during a forum at a Seoul hotel on Oct. 27, 2020, to seek lasting peace among South Korea, China and Japan. (Yonhap)

Washington is currently involved in a four-way dialogue, known as the Quad, that includes Australia, India and Japan, and is seeking to build upon the regional dialogue to form a multilateral structure that it says will counter aggression from the Chinese communist party in all domains.

The U.S. is calling on its other regional partners, including South Korea, to join the forum, though Seoul says the U.S. has yet to extend a formal invitation.

The South Korean adviser insisted such an invitation, if made, would create an "existential dilemma" for South Korea.

"If the United States forces us to join some kind of a military alliance against China, then I see that will pose a very existential dilemma to us," Moon said at the virtual seminar.

"Suppose we joined a military exercise along the (inaudible) strait, as well as (in the) South China Sea, then China will treat us as an enemy," he insisted.

The professor emeritus at Seoul's Yonsei University also argued a coalition against China may encourage Beijing to resume its military assistance to North Korea under a tripartite alliance that would also involve Russia.

"China will be strengthening the northern tripartite alliance system involving China, Russia and North Korea. China has not provided North Korea with any military assistance and weapons and logistics support since 1958. But if that happens then, China will resume its assistance of military weapons, logistics support for North Korea, including oil," said Moon.

"Then, the conventional threat from North Korea, in addition to nuclear set, will be further strengthened," he added.


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