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미중관계 브리핑- Blossoming Divisions

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저자 Patrick Thomsen, Benjamin Engel
발행일 20150430 주제
출처(출판사) 동아시아연구원
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Investigative Summary
 

The U.S.-China relationship continues to be defined by differences despite a number of notable compromises and agreements including the recent accord on emissions reductions. However, recently the differences between the two giants on opposite sides of the Pacific have forced allies, neighbors, and bystanders alike to, at times, reluctantly choose a side. This insistence on choosing teams is, depending on the issue, leaving either the U.S. or China isolated and perhaps feeling threatened. This could be a dangerous proposition and these dividing issues may cause the relationship to heat up as summer approaches. The following represents five key issues highlighted by the U.S. and China over the previous month as tracked by the UCR Briefing.
 

‘Defections’ to the AIIB
 

The U.S. has found itself complaining to an increasingly disinterested audience recently, that the AIIB is a poor substitute for the World Bank as a financier for developing nations’ infrastructure projects. This they argue is due to a lack of checks ensuring good governance in countries provided with loans. However, this month saw the U.S.’s closest ally, the United Kingdom, officially apply for membership to the AIIB, and one of the U.S.’s closest Asian allies, South Korea, also followed suit. There is a good chance these are not the last close American allies to ignore Washington’s warnings and join the AIIB. Rumors swirled in March that Japan and Australia, two other strong American partners in Asia, were seriously considering joining the AIIB as well (a rumor that turned out to have some meaty substance in the end). Since the U.S. continues to keep its head in the sand and is continually espousing the need to uphold “standards for governance and environmental and social safeguards,” one cannot help but speculate as to what will happen if the U.S. is one of the few developed nations forced to view the AIIB from the outer.
 

China, on the other hand, seems to be revelling in the AIIB’s success, issuing numerous statements welcoming all to apply for membership and denouncing American obstructionism. With statements such as, “We will stay open and inclusive and welcome the participation of interested countries in establishing and operating the AIIB,” Beijing seems to be growing in confidence as it gathers momentum. It can even be reasonably claimed that it is almost daring the U.S. to join. Clearly a line in the sand is beginning to form, the question is: will the U.S. choose to dissolve it?
 

A Shield around Asia?
 

While there are numerous hot spots around the globe that are garnering more immediate attention, the security situation in East Asia and on the Korean peninsula is reaching a new critical juncture, as the U.S. pushes its allies to import the Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) system. The issue is most poignant in South Korea where its often derided ‘evil twin,’ North Korea, poses a serious threat since it is now widely accepted that its nuclear weapon development program has matured and is now developing superior missile technology capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Seoul.
 

This has led to a constant back in forth between the U.S. and China, where the U.S. noted in March, the ongoing discussions concerning THAAD within South Korean government circles and assumed that its close military partner would seek to “determine its own needs.” The U.S. also highlighted its plans to expand the missile defense program both within its own territory in Alaska and along the Pacific Coast as well as continuing cooperation in this field with the Japanese, Australian, Romanian, and Polish governments. China on the other hand continues to insist its neighbors, namely South Korea, consider regional security and the security concerns of others when exploring the possibility of importing U.S. missile defense systems. In stark contrast to the AIIB, it appears that China is the one left out in the cold on this issue. As other states in East Asia hoist the American missile shield over their respective territories, will China spend more political capital to keep South Korea from importing THAAD? Or will it pull back in an attempt to win over Seoul through other means at their disposal?...