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'A shrimp among whales'

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By Donald Kirk

The notion that South Korea should adopt a "neutral" position between the U.S. and China has been gaining traction as President Moon Jae-in looks for equilibrium between these two giant powers, near and far. It all goes back to that image of Korea as "a shrimp among whales" and the old line, "In a fight between whales, the shrimp's back gets broken."

That's understandable when you consider the geographical position of the Korean Peninsula between China, Russia and Japan and the proximity of U.S. air and naval power on bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam. There are, however, reasons to question this search for neutrality, beginning with the simple reality that South Korea is a long-time U.S. ally while North Korea relies on China for security.

The division of the Korean Peninsula, however wrong it was, means that neither North nor South Korea can pretend to be neutral for long. North Korea may be proud of its nukes and missiles but can't make a real move, beyond testing, without the approval of China and maybe Russia too. Kim Il-sung could not have ordered the........

© The Korea Times

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