Saturday, May 01, 2004
It seems all of the US one-time strong allies are slowly backing away. First Germany criticizes the US for the war. Then, Spain decides to pull out its troops. Now, Korea shows a strong preference for China rather than the US. Who is next? What else before a change of foreign policy will finally happen?

Financial Times story:

"More than 63 per cent of South Korea's ruling party lawmakers believe China is a more important diplomatic and economic partner than the US, showing Seoul's 50-year alliance with Washington is threatened by Beijing.

The poll came as fresh data showed China was extending its lead over the US as the top destination for South Korean exports and investment.

Lawmakers of the pro- government Uri party revealed their attitudes in an internal survey, conducted two weeks after the left-leaning party won control of South Korea's National Assembly. Uri's election victory was viewed as a shift in power from South Korea's pro-American establishment towards a younger generation of leaders who are less loyal to the US.

Any shift in Seoul's allegiance would alter the balance of power in north-east Asia, because the US military presence on the Korean peninsula is an important counterweight to Chinese influence in the region.

The US decision last year to relocate its troops from positions along the border with North Korea to more southerly locations has increased the sense of disengagement between the allies - although Washington insists it has no plans to withdraw completely."


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