1개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.
"Amid the global economic slowdown stemming from the eurozone debt crisis, China continues to grow at a rapid pace. Experts say there can't be a better time for Korea to begin its negotiations for a free trade agreement with its largest trade partner" (Arirang News, 1.09).
According to yesterday's S. Korean and Chinese media the official negotiations for a free-trade agreement with China will begin in February or March...
Here two controversial pieces regarding the subject.
1. Today's (conservative/reactionary) Chosun Ilbo published the following "analysis":
FTA with China Could Have Geopolitical Ramifications
Free trade talks between South Korea and China will have far-reaching implications beyond the realm of commerce. If the pact is concluded, it will have a strong diplomatic and security aspect that is capable of shifting the geopolitical landscape of Northeast Asia.
◆ Diplomatic Opportunities
A key government official on Tuesday said the FTA "must be pursued from a national strategic standpoint that bears Korean reunification in mind." Another government official said while North Korea "relies on China, the Seoul-Beijing relationship is based on mutual economic exchanges. From a long-term perspective, the South Korea-China FTA could spell opportunities to maintain stability in North Korea and head toward reunification."
Since forming diplomatic ties with China in 1992, Seoul has proposed to Beijing several ways to ensure stability in North Korea and pursue reunification, but none of them have succeeded. Deepening ties between South Korea and China through the economic pact could become an effective way to expand Seoul’s diplomatic and security options.
Kim Sung-han at Korea University said, “If the FTA is worked out successfully, we will be able to discuss the North Korean issue with Beijing and get a chance to create an atmosphere for achieving reunification of the two Koreas.
Experts say that the negotiating channel for the bilateral FTA will play a positive role, since it is being created at a time when uncertainties are mounting in the North following the sudden death of leader Kim Jong-il amid growing defection from the country. China is also apparently approaching the FTA from a strategic as well as an economic perspective.
Yoon Duk-min at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said, "From one perspective, China sees the FTA as a chance to overcome Washington's strategy of encirclement. For us, it would serve as a strong diplomatic card."
As of the end of 2010, bilateral trade totaled US$188.4 billion, which is more than the combined trade with the U.S. ($90.2 billion) and Japan ($92.5 billion). If Seoul and Beijing strengthen their economic alliance through the bilateral FTA, some experts believe China will no longer take such a passive approach to Korean reunification.
Beijing would have fewer reasons to fear a reunification led by the South if South Korea and China boost economic cooperation and bilateral ties.
◆ Geopolitical Impact
The South Korea-China FTA could have a major geopolitical impact on Northeast Asia as well. Until now, the security landscape in Northeast Asia has been a Cold-War-style standoff between the South Korea-U.S.-Japan alliance on one side and China and North Korea on the other. But if the Seoul-Beijing FTA is signed and economic cooperation increases rapidly, this traditional framework would crumble.
Heo Yoon at Sogang University said, "The reason why leftwing factions opposed the FTA with the U.S. is because they didn’t want Seoul-Washington ties to strengthen further. So from an economic perspective, the FTA with China would be a form of alliance, and we need to take a close, strategic look at simultaneously bolstering our ties with the U.S. and China and seek public consensus."
2. Today's editorial in Kyunghyang Shinmun("moderate progressive"):
No Reason to Rush the Korea-China FTA
Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak and China’s Paramount Leader Hu Jintao agreed on Monday to embark upon the domestic procedures necessary for beginning official negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two states.
The two leaders have thus effectively proclaimed the beginning of a Korea-China FTA.
The government is emphasizing that joint research on an FTA has been in progress between the two states for some time, but speculation is rife as to why the Lee Myung-bak government, previously half-hearted regarding a Korea-China FTA, has changed direction and begun negotiations with less than one year of its term in office remaining.
China has consistently urged Korea to enter negotiations over an FTA. Its interest, up to now, has reportedly been focused more on using the FTA to check US influence when it comes to the international political order in the Asia-Pacific region than on economic interests.
The diplomatic and national security interests tied up in a Korea-China FTA are accordingly complicated.
There are doubts as to how specific the government’s strategic plan was when it decided to open negotiations. If it has hurried into the FTA due to an awareness of the increased political uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula following the death of Kim Jong-il, and of China’s role, it stands a high chance of messing things up.
Neither is this something that should be subject to a greedy desire to achieve the flashy distinction of being the first country to conclude FTAs with the “world’s three great economic blocs,” following those with the USA and the EU.
There are concerns that the economic repercussions of the Korea-China FTA on products made by small and-medium industries, including agricultural and marine products and textiles, will be much greater than those brought by the FTAs with the US and the EU.
If tariff barriers disappear, the damage sustained by the these industries will inevitably be of fearful proportions. The agricultural industry, in particular, which has been harmed to an extent that is hard to measure by the US and EU FTAs, would be subjected to an additional, tsunami-like shock.
Shandong Province, which is geopolitically similar to Korea, has 4.4 times more arable land than the latter and produces 9-10 times more fruit and vegetables. In terms of physical distance, importing its products to Seoul’s Garak-dong Market would be similar to bringing in agricultural produce from Jeju-do.
This is why some are worry that Korea’s agricultural and fisheries could be obliterated. It is obvious that most beneficial effects of the Korea-China FTA, such as occupying the Chinese domestic market, would be concentrated toward internationally competitive big businesses, and that weaker small-medium enterprises, farmers and fishermen would be left in an even more vulnerable position.
It is a certainty that such an FTA would accelerate the growing social polarization between social classes and industrial sectors.
Even now, a quarter of Korean exports go to China and a fifth of imports come from it, gradually increasing worries about the “China Risk,” whereby the fallout from economic changes and inflation in China are passed on intact to Korea.
Now is the time to break from the vague “FTA supremacism,” which may be aimed at “expanding economic territory” or at “occupying markets,” and concentrate more on acquiring a sustainable economic structure that includes reduced polarization.
The Korea-China FTA must not be hurried; even if it does go ahead, it must faithfully observe a process of public consultation and be sure to obtain the agreement of the people. Only then can public conflict and resistance of the kind prompted by the KORUS FTA be minimized.
The role of the National Assembly is to put in place a mechanism that stops negotiators from flying solo, drawing lessons from the KORUS FTA, where negotiations were riddled with instances of haste and inequality.