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S. Korea can have both strong alliance with U.S., productive relationship with China: U.S. official

Diplomacy 03:44 November 30, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea may very well enjoy having a strong alliance with the United States and also a productive relationship with China at the same time, a White House official said Tuesday.

Edgard Kagan, National Security Council (NSC) senior director for East Asia and Oceania, made the remark in a seminar, "Between the Eagle and the Dragon: Challenges and Opportunities for South Korea in the U.S.-China Competition," organized by the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.

The NSC official said the U.S. does not believe that it is "incompatible to have a strong U.S.-ROK alliance" with "the ROK having a productive relationship with the PRC," referring to South Korea and China by their official names, the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China, respectively.

"From our perspective, we believe, in fact, the two reinforce each other in the sense that having a global role, having a strong regional role, being very clear about where it stands, we believe actually makes it easier to have a strong and productive relationship with the PRC," he added.

His remarks come after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol unveiled Seoul's new Indo-Pacific Strategy during his recent visits to Cambodia and Indonesia for regional summits there that many believe aligns South Korea closer with the U.S. against China by calling for efforts to build a "free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific."

"From our perspective, we do not see this as a zero sum game," Kagan reiterated.

"And we do not want to be in the position of telling the ROK or urging the ROK to do things which are antithetical to its interests," he added.


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