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21.05.13 09:12:40
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국제관계연구소
Vol 36-1 (April 2021):Implications of the Premodern Chinese–Korean Tributary Relationship for the South Korean Perception of ROK–PRC Ties: A South Korean Perspective*(Jinwung Kim)
Abstract

Based on a perspective that understands the South Korean perception of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as resulting considerably from Korea's historical experience of its tributary relationship with China, this study explains what significant implications a South Korean understanding of the historical tributary order may have for its perceptions of a “new China” and preferences for the Republic of Korea's (ROK; South Korea) foreign policy directions. In premodern times, Korea had a special experience with China. Korean kingdoms shared with imperial China a tributary relationship in which the former was positioned as the latter's tributary state. South Koreans in general understand the traditional Chinese–Korean tributary relationship negatively. This negative understanding of the historical tributary relationship affects the South Korean perception of a “new China.” Many South Koreans see the PRC that seeks to reconstruct the traditional tributary order as a rising threat. South Korean perceptions of both the premodern tributary relationship and its possible restoration by the PRC may determine their foreign policy preferences. While the established conservatives prioritize the ROK–US alliance and the progressives give priority to the ROK–PRC partnership, South Koreans as a whole prefer the United States over China as the ROK's security partner and balancing against China over bandwagoning with it.


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