South Korea’s presidential candidates face balancing act amid rising anti-China sentiment
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a professor of international relations at King’s College, London, said South Korea was well aware of China’s potential economic retaliation as Seoul was being integrated into the US-led coalition to counter China’s influence. “But even if China comes up with another round of economic coercion, I don’t think South Korea would be as concerned,” he said.
“This is because, first, since the last Thaad incident, South Korea has already begun to diversify its economy away from China by opening factories in Vietnam, for example; second, the public has begun to turn against China in the last few years – and in particular since the start of the Covid pandemic.”
Pacheco Pardo added: “South Korea nowadays is more willing to take action, but not by itself, but with like-minded partners, such as the United States and Europe.”