There has long been existing a kind of inseparable connection between Korea and China. And, it showed the rare case of achievement in world history, being backed by the statistics in economic exchanges and others. especially since the two countries established diplomatic relations in August 1992 under the names of the Republic of Korea, the Peoples' Republic of China respectively.
Taking a look at the last 20-30 years of exchanges between Korea and China, which now proves the high level of interdependence in various sectors, we can find the fact that there appeared a rather distinguishable symptom of advantage in Korea's favor in contrast with the common understanding, which had been prevailing, in the opposite direction. On the other side, along with the blooming partnership between Korea and China, there co-exists the dark shade of failure and setback which, coming from Korea's inferiority in competitive edge and/or in national power itself, may be supported by the actual cases of dispute in trade, history. And, in view of recent developments in the region politically as well as economically, it seems to be a kind of desperate duty being imposed on Korea to find out ways of sustaining the positive trend.
A country can exist and survive depending on her identity as a member of the international society of which the current trend may be characterized as that of globalization and multilateralism, continuously stressing and expanding mutuality and exchanges among more than two different countries. To remain alive and competitive under the ever-changing atmosphere. she should maintain and improve her domestic and foreign capacity. And, in an effort to pursue that goal, it is required for her to search out and implement a new paradigm.
Multilateral cooperation, allowing participants the opportunities of contributing their indigenous and/or comparative resources in the areas of finance, technology and manpower, can meet the private or the common interests of members, of which the merits have been officially acknowledged by the Chinese authority. Saving the resources thru conducting the joint projects, they may expect to realize the long-term but impending ideals like the environmental protection. And it may be studied and implemented both on public level and on private one taking the form as an international cooperative body or as a small group.
Retrospecting Korean experiences of research and/or business regarding China, we can see most of them were based on two-way and bilateral practices, which may be the result of her self-complacent attitude about the achievement to date and/or lack of ability to move beyond. Under the situation which keeps getting enlarged and multi-layered, it deserves time and effort to probe into the possibilities of activating multilateral cooperation even in the Korean approaches toward China, thru which they may be able to overcome the shortage, and, work out a practical method of opening and promoting the new vision as well.
As the potential and promising areas of applying the multilateral cooperation in Korean approach toward China, it can be suggested those for private enterprises, academic circles and national security. And, it may be said that the multilateral cooperation has already been put into force in Korean-Chinese relationship to some extent thru those of project-financing, jointly participating in the cooperative activities within the frameworks of APEC, ASEAN+3, ESCAP. In a sense, even the Korean-Chinese relationship during the Cold War era might be understood as the outcome of power-mechanics set by the superpowers.
For an actual example, the Yellow Sea Project can be introduced. It has been conceived by the government of a developed country and been executed in China. The concept was identifying & developing business opportunities in trade, investment, financing, etc. by adopting the proactive manner of utilizing 3rd party's presence and capability there like those by the South Korean side, thus providing the Korean side with the opportunities of forging partnership with a developed country as well. Korean companies have been running very active and successful businesses investing in many and diversified projects in China. Thru conducting the Project, the developed country could expect to share the South Korean capability, and, to upgrade her own presence in the region which had become the center of world interest more than ever.
On top of the above described merits, applying the concept of multilateral cooperation, Korea may secure the chance of playing the role as the balancer geopolitically as well as industrially, projecting to attain the goal of becoming the regional hub.
As a conclusion, it is suggested for the Korean side to research and implement the concept of multilateral cooperation in her approaches toward China in a futuristic manner, getting prepared with resources in manpower and in the other capacities.