2011 한중 국민 상호인식조사 데이터를 활용한 한석희 EAI 중국연구센터 소장의 기고문, "South Korea Seeks to Balance Relations with China and the United States: Current Issues in U.S.-ROK Relations"가 미국외교협회(Council on Foreign Relations: CFR) 홈페이지에 게재되었습니다. 한석희 소장은 기고문을 통해 여론조사결과 한국인들이 경제적 이해관계, 북한문제 해결 차원에서 중국과의 협력이 더욱 중요해지고 있음을 인지하면서도, 중국의 부상이 지역 정세 불안정을 가져올 것이라며 우려하는 상충적인 태도를 보이고 있다고 강조하였습니다. 아울러, 미중관계와 한국 외교정책 방향에 대한 박근혜, 문재인, 안철수 대선 후보들의 정책공약을 평가하고, 향후 한국 정부가 한미동맹을 강화하면서 동시에 한중협력을 발전시켜나가야 함을 제언하였습니다.
In August 2012, South Korea (the Republic of Korea, or ROK) and China celebrated their twentieth anniversary of diplomatic normalization. During the past two decades, the two states have advanced their political, economic, diplomatic, and cultural relations with unprecedented speed and scope. This development has been driven by expanding bilateral economic cooperation and its resulting benefits. Trade between the two countries has increased approximately thirty-five times, from $6.37 billion in 1992 to $220.63 billion in 2011. Currently, China is South Korea's largest trading partner and South Korea is China's third largest. However, underneath the surface of this relationship is an increase in South Korea's negative perceptions of China.
A series of bilateral conflicts and entanglements has served to increase South Korean discontent with China. These include:
• tariff disputes arising from Chinese flooding of South Korean garlic markets in 2000
• China's controversial claim to the ancient Korean kingdom of Koguryo in 2004
• Chinese violence during the torch relay for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008
• the sinking of the Cheonan and the Yeonpyeong Island bombardment in 2010
• Chinese fishermen's illegal fishing and the murder of a Korean coast guard in 2011
• Chinese repatriation of North Korean defectors
• potential disputes over Socotra Rock in 2012
East Asia Institute-Asia Research Institute (EAI-ARI) polls reveal that in the context of these developments in bilateral relations, South Korea's public perceptions of China have been ambivalent. On the one hand, South Korea recognizes the growing importance of China for its future economic prosperity and potential unification with North Korea. Given that South Korea's lopsided economic dependency on China has intensified (a quarter of Korea's 2011 total exports went to China), and that Beijing has consolidated its political, economic, diplomatic, and cultural influence over Pyongyang, South Koreans clearly acknowledge the significance of building and maintaining positive relations with China...(Continued)