WW3 fears: South Korea caught in brutal crossfire between China and US as tensions soar

China use North Korea ‘as a weapon’ against US claims expert

Moon Jae-in’s nation ranks in and around the global top 10 in gross domestic product and defence spending. But the country faces turmoil amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Kim Joon-hyung, chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) in Seoul, said: “We are not small and weak, but [we are] surrounded by these four superpowers geopolitically and geographically.”

South Korea is the home to US military firepower and troops but also struggles with growing tensions as China is its biggest trading partner.

The nation is being forced to find ways to negotiate survive due to Beijing’s dominance and the incoming Biden administration.

This year China’s President Xi Jinping is expected to visit South Korea for his first overseas state trip of the year.

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Moon Chung-in, a professor of political science at Yonsei University, warned if South Korea joined a US-led front against China it would bring conflicts to their maritime backyard.

He said Washington would demand an end to Seoul’s policy of neutrality on issues such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

The expert said China’s response would be “aggressive military moves in the Yellow Sea” on South Korea’s west coast.

He added: “Most sensible Koreans wouldn’t want Korea to be entangled in a sharp military conflict between the US and China.”

The government adviser also said Seoul needed better relations with Beijing due to the threat from North Korea.

He said: “When Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited [Seoul in November] our government expressed a strong desire that China would play a more proactive role in facilitating [the resolution of] North Korean nuclear issues.”

Adding: “If we take sides with the US is an overt manner, like allowing additional deployment of THAAD or allowing American intermediate-range missiles in South Korea… then China will use thee North Korea card.”

Back in 2016, Seoul allowed a new US anti-missile system to operate in the country, sparking anger in China.

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Beijing said it was a threat and trade between the nations plummeted, according to the South China Morning Post.

More than 70 years ago, the Korean Peninsula was split following the Korean War which draw the US and China to fight against each other.

But Lee Soo-hyuck, South Korea’s ambassador to the US, said basing a relationship on a war which happened seven decades ago made no sense.

He said: “Just because South Korea chose the US 70 years ago doesn’t mean it must choose the US for the next 70 years.”

During the 70th anniversary of the Korean War last year, Xi Jinping issued a terrifying warning.

He said his country was ready to “fight war with war” before continuing: “Seventy years ago, the Imperialist invaders fired on the doorstep of a new China.

“The Chinese people understood that you must use the language that invaders can understand – to fight war with war and stop an invasion with force, earning peace and security through victory.

“The Chinese people will not create trouble but nor are we afraid, and no matter the difficulties of challenges that we face, our legs will not shake and our backs will not bend.

“Without a string army, there can be no strong motherland.”

During the war, more than two million Chinese troops were deployed to assist North Korea.

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