What factors have driven South Korea’s and Japan’s strategic approaches toward China? In contrast to scholarly claims that the Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese relationships have generally been exacerbated since 2010, we argue that the relationships have shown a consistent pattern of resilience and moderate development over the last two decades. An examination of the security and diplomatic relations from 2008 to 2019 shows that bilateral relationships remained at a manageable level, barring episodic stagnations. The findings indicate that converging factors—economic interdependence and the presence of the United States (US)—have consistently motivated Japan and Korea to accommodate China. Major economic entities in South Korea and Japan have prevented their countries from applying irreversible pressure on China. Further, the strong security commitment of the US toward Japan and South Korea has served as a bulwark preventing security dilemmas by reducing fears of Chinese military threat in the region.
Ⅱ. Explaining the Resilience amid Fluctuations: Economic Interdependence and the US Presence
Ⅲ. Resilience amid Fluctuations: Empirical Facts
Ⅳ. Economic Interdependency and the Restoration of Bilateral Relations
Ⅴ. The US Presence and Its Ef f ects o f Reassurance and Stabilization