Now we cross over to our Oh Soo-young for Global Insight and an in-depth look at important developments in world affairs.
South Korea's president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday, marking the first bilateral interaction between Seoul's incoming administration and Beijing.
Their conversation lasted 25 minutes, touching upon bilateral ties ahead of Yoon's inauguration on May 10th, as well as cooperation on dealing with a nuclear North Korea.
While the agenda seemed to stick to formalities, many are questioning how South Korea and China's relations will change when Yoon takes office, as he has shown strong support for Washington amid its strategic rivalry with Beijing.
We discuss what may be on the cards.
I'm joined by Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Head of International Studies and Professor of International Relations at King's College London.
We are also joined by Robert Ross, Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Associate of the John King Fairbank center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.
1. Professor Pacheco Pardo: South Korea’s president-elect Yoon spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone. What did you make of the conversation? How do you think Beijing is perceiving Yoon's win?
2. Professor Ross: President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol pledged to strengthen the ROK-US alliance and diversify South Korea's trade, reducing its dependence on the Chinese market. How do you think Yoon Suk-yeol's electoral victory has been received in Beijing?
3. Professor Pacheco Pardo: Yoon appears to have sided with Washington amid the U.S.-China competition but is it realistic to expect Seoul to make a deliberate turn away from Beijing, given their economic ties and North Korea? Do you think Yoon will have to maintain a certain level of strategic ambiguity in handling the South’s relations with the U.S. and China?
4. Professor Ross: For years, South Korea has tried to gain the support of China in dealing with North Korea security issues but it seems now that Beijing and Pyeongyang are closer than ever before. Will China be at all instrumental? Is it even interested in North Korea's denuclearization now?
5. Professor Pacheco Pardo: South Korea and the U.S. are expected to strengthen their bilateral alliance under the Yoon administration. The president-elect has mentioned placing additional anti-missile defence systems in the country. Will North Korea's recent ICBM provocation strengthen the case for this? In what ways are Seoul and Washington likely to strengthen their security alliance?
6. Professor Ross: There are growing concerns that China, Russia and North Korea are going to work together to weaken America, and that Pyeongyang testing its ICBMs may not necessarily be a bad thing for Moscow and Beijing. What do you make of this view?
7. Professor Pacheco Pardo: What are your thoughts on this, and what do you think North Korea's next steps will be?
8. Professor Ross: How do you think the situation in Ukraine is affecting Beijing's calculations amid U.S.-China tensions? What does the war in Ukraine war mean for America, in its shift to the Indo-Pacific?
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Professor of International Relations at King's College London and Robert Ross, Professor of Political Science at Boston College; thank you for your time today.