For such situations, in Korea there is a saying that literally translates as: “In a fight whales from shrimp broken back.” There is a more Western version, but also commonly used in Korea, which sounds like “sandwich effect”. All these expressions now remember the Koreans, sadly shaking his head: the two giants again began to clash, putting Korea face a choice when any decision of the Koreans will only bring harm.

the United States resumed large-scale attack on China, accusing Beijing of creating a coronavirus, imposing sanctions against leading companies and organizations in China. It would be so bad, but the Americans decided to resort to the proven tactics when in their disputes they involve all their allies, talking about “a broad international campaign” …

This fully touched, and South Korea, which the Americans have repeatedly hinted that, they say, it would be necessary “to respond to Chinese actions”.

at the same time, the United States gave the South Koreans understand that they “should not” to fill some of the technological and industrial niches that can be freed in the economy of China after the decision of the leadership of the United States to gradually withdraw American manufacturing from China to allow the transfer of certain technologies and products.

and about the overall technology strategy stressed that Seoul, as the ally of the United States should not cooperate with China’s Huawei and do not try to develop a serious engagement with China. In the field of foreign trade in the United States has asked South Korea to join Washington created the block “the Network of economic prosperity” (Economic Prosperity Network or EPN), whose goal is the economic isolation of China.

Senior officials of South Korea acknowledged that such negotiations took place, and they put a Seoul “in a very difficult situation.” Seoul would like to develop the most good and profitable relations with the US and with China, where the first is the main military and political ally and the second – leading trade partner. But now, forced to choose “either-or”. While at this time, judging by the attitude of Washington, it is not about a single anti-Chinese actions, and on the adjustment of overall strategy overall to join the US-led anti-China “front” among the allies of the United States.

“We are very much concerned about the intensifying ahead of presidential elections in the United States U.S.-China conflict… Apparently, it will not end quickly, because it’s a very difficult situation for us, when at stake is our state interests,” quoting the words of the sources, Kim Hyun-Jong, second Deputy state security Department of the presidential administration of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The official closed-door communicating with members Parlacops described the General state of Affairs, recognizing that the decision is still pending.

the Most desirable for the Korean variant – to be left alone, and the United States and China fought how many would like one-on-one. But, it seems that this luxury Seoul can count on. In several papers, published and forthcoming in the U.S. government agencies responsible for foreign policy and the economy, South Korea already identified as key partners, with whom Washington will strengthen cooperation against China. If China as a whole agree to leave South Korea alone and accept its neutrality, this is clearly not what the U.S. wants.

the Koreans sadly shake their heads and admit that they have much choice there. With all the moving in the direction of “diversification of foreign policy,” the place of the US as a “big brother” South Korea is still unshakable, but because if, indeed, Seoul will have to choose, it a couple dozen times apologize to Beijing, will be asked to “understand and forgive”, but in the end will join the American camp. After all, the US has quite a variety of powerful levers of political, economic, financial, cultural and other – to compel Seoul to go on the “ideologically correct way”. And in General, Korean society is still more inclined to partnership with the US than with China, to bring the matter to a choice only in favor of “a”.

However in the top leadership of South Korea now dominates the attitude of the maximum delay a final decision, hoping that with time, as they say in the parable of Hodja Nasreddin, “or Emir dies, or the donkey”. In local reality, this means that either the US and China will reconcile or will change in the United States, where all soon will be occupied exclusively presidential elections and will probably forget about the Koreans.

the Choice in favor of the United States will lead South Korea’s inevitable retaliation from China. The celestial Empire of course some times will try to persuade Korea “at least stay out of the way”, but also will not just watch as Seoul goes into the enemy camp. And therefore can follow strict trading, financial sanctions against South Korea, but also seriously affected the interests of Korean companies, many of whom actively traded with China and where they have their production. It’s already fully felt by the South Korean Lotte group, which was forced to sell to the government a plot of land for placement of missile defense systems of the US THAAD. In the result, the Chinese authorities forced the group to fold their operations in China.

China has other leverage over Seoul. The current leadership of the Republic of Korea led by President moon Jae makes Another active bid for the development of cooperation with Pyongyang, while the latter are not particularly eager now the arms of Seoul, knowing that more ritual hugs-concerts-rallies will not do, and southerners at least because of the opposition of the United States will not be able to provide the North with significant economic assistance. To make Korea more amenable maybe just China, which is very well understood in Seoul. In addition, this year is expected to visit the leader of China XI Jinping to South Korea that he recently personally confirmed in a personal conversation on the phone with moon Jae Otherwise.

If South Korea would side with USA, then the visit will not be, and about the assistance to China on the North Korean issue can be forgotten… on the other hand, you can not ignore the requirements of the “main ally” and the United States are able to be persistent… Koreans now only have to promise to delay a final decision, which most likely will be doing in Seoul.

Another question if I could… All these tricks and stunts are obvious and perfectly clear both “whale” – the US and China, which again pull in their nets “Korean shrimp”.