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To Like and Like Not: Perceptions Among East Asian Neighbors
By Tae-Seop Bahng

 

 

SOME KEY POINTS of analysis from a selective collection or recent poll data on public opinion among residents of South Korea, Japan, China and the United States poll data:

 

• South Korea and Japan are more favorable to the US than China. This implies that both feel their "traditional alliance" with the US is important. South Korea, though, is becoming more favorable toward China than Japan. For Koreans, it is more important to develop relations with the US and China than strengthen the Korea-US-Japan trilateral alliance.

 

• US perceptions place Japan as more important than South Korea or China, and China prioritizes relations with South Korea over those with Japan. Accordingly, the US will continue to strengthen the US-Japan alliance in order to check the rise of China in East Asia. For its part, China will try to develop relations with Korea on the assumption that its rise will inevitably clash with US and Japanese interests.

 

• Periodic downturns in Sino-Japanese relations will continue. As security issues such as territorial disputes in the region remain unresolved, Japan will lean harder toward the US. This approach is not conducive for negotiations and resolution of various issues among Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, including North Korea's nuclear program.

 


  

 

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    A snapshot of public opinion among residents of South Korea, Japan, China and the United States showing markedly differing levels of favor towards each other's countries. Compiled by Tae-Seop Bahng, Senior Fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute.
    Published: September 2013 (Vol.8 No.3)
    About the author

    Tae-Seop Bahng is a Senior Fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute, Seoul.

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