The China-South Korea relationship after the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) controversy: Diplomacy, Security, Economy, and Public Opinion areas
In 2015, the ROK-China was achieved the best diplomatic relations since 1992. However, with the US-China competition intensifying, the ROK-China relations experienced unprecedented deterioration with the THAAD controversy in 2016. After the ROK decision to deploy the THAAD, China used the ROK decision as a chance to give a lesson to the ROK and set an example of possible consequence that countries could face after betraying China. Simultaneously, China still showed its intention to maintain a good relationship with the ROK to serve as leverage to influence the US-ROK relations. Thus, this paper examines the impact of the ROK-China relationship in diplomacy, security, economy, and public opinion area after the THAAD controversy. After the analysis, this paper finds that the impact on the diplomacy, security, and economy areas were not severe or restored previous level of exchange or cooperation. However, the THAAD controversy have aggravated the South Korean public opinion toward China and set the negative image of China remains in low status after the THAAD controversy for several years. The negative South Korean public opinion toward China may pose a burden to the ROK-China relationship in the long run.
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