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New Cold War and Koreas

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By Choi Sung-jin

The Korean Peninsula is one of the few areas in the world that has the remnants of the global confrontation between capitalists and communists from the last century. That is, this divided peninsula has yet to overcome the old Cold War. Nevertheless, the Koreas are at risk of being involved in a new one ― between the United States and China, this time around.

Already, phrases rampant on media outlets, here and abroad, are becoming reminiscent of the East-West ideological rivalry that ended about three decades ago. Among them are "technological Cold War," "digital Iron Curtain," and "two global economic chains."

Business conflicts and trade war nearly invariably lead to political strife and even military confrontation. The U.S. has begun to call Taiwan a country, directly challenging the "one China policy," in which Beijing regards Taipei as just a renegade province.

In response, China's state propaganda machine is revisiting its "prideful victory" over America during the Korean War (1950-53). East Asia ― Taiwan, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula ― is re-emerging as a theater not just for a new Cold War but unfortunately, and not altogether improbably, for another hot war.

It's been quite some time that gurus have begun to mention the "Thucydides' Trap" ― when a rising power threatens to displace an existing power, war usually erupts ― first identified by the ancient Greek historian. "It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable," Thucydides said. Given that U.S. political leaders, Republicans or........

© The Korea Times