South Korea Presidential Election Will Decide Country’s Stance on Communist China: Former State Department Official

By Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Reporter
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news.
and David Zhang
David Zhang
David Zhang
David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV. He is currently based in New York and Washington DC covering China-related news. He focuses on expert interviews and news commentary on China affairs, especially issues regarding the U.S.–China relationship.
March 8, 2022 Updated: March 8, 2022

As South Koreans head to the polls on March 9, they should be alert to a progressive movement that seeks to distance their country from the United States, according to former U.S. State Department official Morse Tan.

The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, speaking to EpochTV’s “China Insider” program, stressed how the upcoming presidential election outcome would decide whether the country pivots closer to the United States, or North Korea and China instead.

Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party and Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party are the forerunners of the extremely tight race. Both bring different foreign policy approaches to the tabe: Yoon is seen as hawkish on China and North Korea, while Lee is viewed as favoring cooperation.

Tan, who had also previously served as South Korean Ambassador to the United States, said the conservative politicians recognize that “the U.S.’ commitment to defend South Korea is the biggest deterrent against North Korea seeking to take over the peninsula by force and aggressively attacking.”

In contrast, left-leaning figures have tended to be reluctant to further defense and trade ties with the United States, Tan said, despite the threat posed by North Korea and its intention to take over South Korea by force.

The former official said any move by South Korea distancing itself from the United States would be a “fatal mistake.”

“North Korea wants to drive a wedge there and separate South Korea from the alliance with America,” Tan said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 27.

“It would be a very treacherous road for Korea to go on that would jeopardize potentially the continued existence of South Korea,” he added.

That path would also allow the Chinese communist regime to further exert its influence in South Korea, which Tan said everyone should be very concerned about.

“The Chinese Communist Party is looking to become the next world superpower, displacing the United States and exerting its malign influence, in many ways, all across the world,” he said.

Hannah Ng
Reporter
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news.
David Zhang
David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV. He is currently based in New York and Washington DC covering China-related news. He focuses on expert interviews and news commentary on China affairs, especially issues regarding the U.S.–China relationship.