Saturday, July 12, 2014

South Korea Chooses Development Over War

July 11, 2014 EIR International 31
Xi Jinping in Seoul
South Korea Chooses
Development Over War
by Mike Billington
July 7—Chinese President Xi Jinping, the initiator of
the “New Silk Road” for Central Asia and beyond, and
the “New Maritime Silk Road” for Southeast Asia and
the Indian Ocean, continued to give concrete meaning
to his commitment to the cooperative development of
all Asian nations, during his summit in South Korea
July 3-4.
While Seoul has been subjected to intense pressure
from Washington to participate in President Obama’s
military and economic confrontation with China, President
Park Geun-hye has refused to submit, and instead,
welcomed China’s leader to a red-carpet reception,
based on extensive trade and economic development
agreements. South Korea has insisted that being an ally
of the United States cannot, and will not, mean joining
in the insane confrontation against China demanded by
Washington, nor the self-destructive, no-growth financial
bail-out and bail-in looting taking place across the
trans-Atlantic region.
President Xi arrived in Seoul with 250 top Chinese
business leaders. The trip began with Presidents Xi and
Park announcing agreements making the Chinese yuan
and the Korean won directly exchangeable, so that their
booming trade can be carried out with their own currencies,
rather than in dollars, freeing them from double
transaction charges and from fluctuations in the value
of the dollar. The yuan is only the second currency, after
the dollar, which is now directly convertible with the
Also, at a joint press conference, President Park said
South Korea and China will aim to complete long-running
trade talks by the end of this year. China also
agreed to include South Korea as one of the countries
that can invest in the domestic Chinese stock and bond
AP reported July 3 that South Korea’s two-way
trade with China was $229 billion last year, exceeding
the combined value of South Korea’s trade with the
U.S. and Japan. Xi told reporters after the summit that
the two countries will strive to boost their trade to over
$300 billion annually. U.S. trade with South Korea remained
stagnant at $125 billion last year, about the
same as the previous year.
China is also a huge market and a production base
for South Korean exporters such as Samsung, Hyundai,
and LG, which are key foreign investors for China.
Samsung’s sales within China surged from $23 billion
in 2011 to $40 billion in 2013.
President Xi is also offering South Korea participation
in its plan to launch an Asia Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), with 22 nations now showing interest.
The AIIB will create a $100 billion fund to invest in
the desperately needed infrastructure across Asia. As
reported elsewhere in this issue of EIR, the U.S. has
even intervened to pressure Seoul to keep out of this
crucial and beneficial project, claiming that vast infrastructure
development is simply a trick by Beijing to
break up the U.S.-South Korea alliance!
The U.S. response to this is reflected by New York
Times reporter Jane Perlez, who wrote on July 3 that
Xi’s trip to Seoul is only intended to “unsettle U.S. alliances
in Northeast Asia and fortify his argument for a
new security architecture in the region, with China as
the dominant player.”
Dealing with North Korea
The Korean Herald on July 3 pointed to one crucial
reason that South Korea wants to join the AIIB: that
“participation in the infrastructure investment bank
could help South Korea prepare for a possible reunification
of the two Koreas, which would require a massive
amount of funds for infrastructure.”
A key aspect of the summit is that President Xi visited
Seoul before visiting Pyongyang, breaking the
precedent of past Chinese presidents. While Western
scholars and journalists emphasized the fact that China
has the same concerns as the West about North Korea’s
nuclear weapons program—which is certainly true—
they ignore the more important fact that South Korea’s
refusal to break with China is based not only on their
extensive economic cooperation, but also on the fact
that China, like Russia, actually wants to solve the
problem with North Korea—avoiding the confrontational
methods of Washington, which offers only threats
and a military buildup, but rather by offering North
Korea a stake in regional development projects involving
Russia, China, and South Korea.
32 International EIR July 11, 2014
China Daily editorialized on July 4 that “China remains
opposed to the D.P.R.K.’s [North Korea’s] pursuit
of nuclear weapons, which severely harms China’s
national interests. In fact, Beijing expects Pyongyang
to focus on economic development rather than seek nuclear
weapons. Only by doing so will there be a chance
of rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula. However,
Beijing continues to insist that the D.P.R.K.’s security
concerns need to be considered if it is to be encouraged
back on a sound track.” The editorial goes on to note
that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has been
used by the Obama Administration to justify the vast
military buildup around China, claiming it is aimed at
North Korea.
In fact, South Korea has directly rejected Washington’s
effort to use the North Korea problem to draw
Seoul into a military buildup around China. In addition
to the U.S. pressure not to join China’s plans for
vast infrastructure development across the region
through the AIIB, the Obama Administration has also
demanded that Seoul agree to the deployment of
THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile
systems on its territory, claiming that the U.S.
wants to help in their defense against a potential North
Korean attack. The South Korean government has repeatedly
told Washington, and released to the press,
that they have no need for high-altitude missiles
against the threat from North Korea (North Korea is
only 35 miles from Seoul), and that
it is obvious that the THAAD missiles
would be aimed at Beijing, not
Just days after Xi’s visit to Seoul,
the North Korean official news
agency KCNA released a statement
calling for North and South Korea to
work together to “achieve reunification
through a federal formula in
Korea where differing ideologies and
social systems exist,” and to “create
the atmosphere favorable for reconciliation
and unity, to end calumnies
and vituperations,” as reported by
Itar-Tass from Russia. The statement
calls for both sides to end “reckless
hostility and confrontation,” including
the regular military exercises carried
out by both sides. How this will
develop remains to be seen.
Territorial Disputes To Be Settled
The territorial disputes between China and its
neighbors in the South and East China Seas have
become flashpoints for war with China. This is being
stoked by the Obama Administration on three fronts:
lavish praise for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s
executive decision to “reinterpret” Japan’s post-war
pacifist Constitution, now allowing Japan to join in a
U.S. war in the region; signing a deal with Philippine
President Noynoy Aquino to deploy U.S. air, sea, and
land forces and equipment throughout the Philippine
islands; and encouragement of Vietnam’s violent attacks
on a Chinese oil rig in contested territory in the
South China Sea.
Here again, South Korea has not fallen for the trap
set by Obama and his British imperial backers. Presidents
Xi and Park agreed during the summit that the
territorial disputes between the two nations will be settled
through bilateral negotiations, which will begin in
When nations act together on the basis of their
common economic interests, the Empire’s tools for division
and conflict are easily overcome—a lesson for
those in the region caught up in the madness of the Empire’s
drive for war.
Office of the President of the Republic of Korea
Chinese President Xi Jinping joins South Korean President Park Geun-Hye in Seoul
July 4, where the two leaders reached a number of important economic and trade
agreements—much to the consternation of London and Obama’s Washington.

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