As The Economist reported back in March about the delicate balancing act that President Yoon Suk-yeol must walk between China and the United States, "South Korea sends a quarter of its exports to China, making it vulnerable to coercion should its more forceful commitment to its Western partners irritate the government in Beijing."
Indeed, South Koreans remember with a flinch the trade retaliation it suffered from China when a US THAAD missile defence system was deployed here in 2017, the 25th anniversary of the two nations' normalising diplomatic relations.
Nevertheless, China remains South Korea's number one trading partner, having surpassed the United States in the mid-2000s. But trade ties continue to fray from time to time due to Seoul's military alliance with Washington, as well as other issues such as accusations of cultural appropriation, abuse of Korea's national health insurance system by relatives of Chinese labourers, illegal fishing, "theft" of Olympic medals, diplomatic bullying, and industrial espionage.
At this event we bring together experts from academia and business to discuss relations between the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China, and what their improvement or worsening could mean for businesses.