Not all of these goals are equally achievable.
The Korean Peninsula denuclearization can only occur if North Korea cooperates, while the strategic partnership with China can only be confirmed if the US does not object. For these reasons, both of these goals will require more time and effort before they can be reached.
This being the case, the primary purpose of Park’s visit to China related to the third goal of progress toward an FTA.
Since 2000, then-president Kim Dae-jung and his government adopted a strategy of advancing into the Chinese market. In this way, South Korean products broke into world markets using China’s market as a springboard. Because of this, Taiwan and South Korea were not competing on a level playing field, and this became a key factor in Taiwan’s lack of economic competitiveness in relation to South Korea.
Now, Park intends to relaunch the strategy of advancing into the Chinese market by pushing for an FTA. This means that South Korean businesses can be expected to compete strongly with Taiwanese companies in meeting China’s market demand.
Taiwan’s policymakers need to think long and hard about whether the nation is sufficiently prepared to deal with a second honeymoon between China and South Korea.
Tsai Zheng-jia is head of the Second Research Division of National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations.
Translated by Julian Clegg