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2020년 6월 5일
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한승주 Han SungJoo
Han SungJoo is a professor emeritus at Korea University. He previously served as the minister of foreign affairs and ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States. He was also UN Secretary-General’s special representative for Cyprus, a member of the UN Inquiry Commission on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and chairman of the East Asia Vision Group. He is currently chairman of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

He is a graduate of Seoul National University and received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he taught at City University of New York and was a visiting professor at Columbia University and Stanford University. He was also a distinguished fellow at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and acting president of Korea University.

저자 한승주는 현재 고려대학교 명예교수이자 아산정책연구원 이사장이다. 1970년부터 학계에 몸담아 온 그는 외무부 장관 (1993-1994), 주미 대사 (2003-2005)를 역임한 대한민국 ‘학자 외교관’이다. 서울대 외교학과 졸업 후 미국 UC 버클리에서 정치학 박사학위를 받았다. 이후 뉴욕 시립대에서 8년간 부교수로 재직한 후, 귀국하여 1978년부터 고려대 정치외교학과 교수로서 제자들을 양성하였다. 컬럼비아대 및 스탠포드대 초빙교수, 록펠러형제기금 명예연구원을 역임하였으며, UN 사무총장 특별대표 (사이프러스 담당), UN 르완다 인종학살 조사위원, 동아시아비전그룹 (EAVG) 공동의장, 고려대 총장서리를 맡은 바 있다.


책 소개

Korea is a country surrounded by powerful and contending neighbors such as China, Japan and Russia. Due to its geopolitical circumstance, it often experienced in its history being caught in a triangular relationship between two other powers such as China and Japan. Toward the end of the 16th century, Korea was invaded by Japan which attempted to use it as a pathway to China. After the end of World War II, Korea was a prize that two victors of the war, the United States and the Soviet Union (Russia), sought to place it under their influence if not control. Eventually, they agreed to a shared occupation, dividing the country into two halves. Today, seven and a half decades later, Korea (still divided into north and south) has become the focal point of the Sino-American rivalry. The fateful predicament of being the third leg of various triangular relationships has taught Koreans to tread a tightrope of conducting international politics in order to keep their country intact and safe. Sometimes they succeeded, other times they couldn’t. This book traces back how Korea has dealt with the challenges and how they will cope in the years ahead.

KOREA TRIANGLES, 1945-2020는 과거와 현재 한반도를 둘러싼 열강과의 삼각관계가 어떻게 변모해왔으며 미래에는 어떤 관계를 형성할지에 관한 통찰을 담고 있다. 한국은 지정학적 특성 때문에 역사적으로 중국, 일본과 같은 강대국 사이에서 삼각관계를 경험해왔다. 16세기 말 일본은 한국을 중국으로 향하는 교두보로 이용하려고 침략을 했고, 제2차 세계대전 이후 승자인 미국과 소련은 한국을 자신들의 영향력하에 두려고 했다. 결국 한국을 두 개의 국가로 나누면서 공유 점령에 동의까지 했다. 반세기가 지난 오늘날 여전히 남북으로 갈라진 한반도는 미·중 경쟁의 구심점이 되고 있다. 이렇듯 수 세기 동안 한반도를 둘러싼 열강과의 삼각관계는 변모되어 왔다. 저자는 세계대전 이후 75년이 지난 현재까지 한국을 둘러싼 삼각관계가 어떻게 변화되어왔고 한국이 당면한 도전을 어떻게 다루어 왔는지를 되짚어주며, 급변하는 국제정세 속 한국의 현 위치를 더 깊게 이해하도록 도와준다.

외무부 장관 재임 시절 1차 북핵 위기를 경험한 저자는 한반도를 둘러싼 치열한 국제정세의 흐름 속에서 외교 현장을 직접 체험한 외교관이자 학자이다. 저자는 외교 일선에서의 경험을 바탕으로 1980년부터 2020년까지 약 40년간 강연, 기고, 기조 연설 등을 하며 작성한 글을 모아 이번에 직접 책으로 출간했다. 저서에는 각 시대 상황 속에서 한국을 둘러싼 삼각관계 요소와 형태뿐만 아니라 그 시대의 국제정치 및 외교의 주요 이슈까지 담겨있다. 시대를 뛰어넘어 책을 관통하는 하나의 주제가 있다. 그것은 바로 한국이라는 나라가 주변 강대국들과 벌이고 있는 삼각관계라는 팽팽한 밧줄 위를 아슬아슬하지만 끝까지 걸어가는 모습이다. 저자는 그간 한국이 딛고 있던 밧줄 위의 외교사를 돌아보며 향후 격변하는 시대에 우리가 누구와 어디로 걸어가야 할지를 고민하게 한다.


책 속으로

This book is a review of the changing relations among Korea (North or South Korea after division of the country in 1945), China, Russia/USSR, the United States, and Japan. These dynamic and evolving relationships can often be seen as triangular patterns of varying dimensions. The first section will focus on China-Korea relations, the ties that date back the farthest. In fact, China maintained a dominant relationship with Korea for nearly two millennia right up until the end of the 19th century. Then, after a half century of hiatus, China re-emerged on the scene during the Korean War to become a staunch supporter of the northern half, a relationship that would last through the 1980s. Since the early 1990s, however, China opted to pursue a “two-Koreas” policy rather than continue an exclusive relationship with Pyongyang. Twenty years later, China went back to tilting toward North Korea. Thus, since 1992, when China established normal diplomatic relations with South Korea, it has come to have a presence on the peninsula that is as strong as any other country including the United States.

The United States, for its part, became involved in Korean affairs almost by chance in the late 19th century. But the U.S.-South Korean alliance that developed after the Korean War of 1950-53 has proven to be a lasting and an effective one. Together, the trans-Pacific allies have competed quite successfully with the Sino-North Korean alliance for nearly half a century. Now the United States is making an effort to catch up with China in establishing ties with both Koreas. The one obstacle to achieving this objective is North Korea’s continued refusal to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Once this problem is resolved, the result could be a United States competing with China for a large presence on the Korean peninsula. This subject, the United States-Korea relations, will be the focus of the second section.

The North Korean nuclear issue is one that involves all the powers of the region and their policies and politics as well. It also informs how the dynamics of the triangular relations among China, the United States, and the two Koreas impact on relations between the two Koreas. This will be the launching point for the third section of this book which focuses on South Korea’s position between China and Japan.

The final essay deals with issues related to the Korean unification question. It discusses the history of the division and prospects for reunification. The essay on unification discusses why each of the stake-holders of the Korean question will either support or oppose Korea being reunified and, if it accepts such an eventuality, under what conditions.

The conclusion that will be drawn in this book is that this is all, in essence, a process by which several triangles merge into one multi-angular relations, so that each of the major powers involved in Korean affairs formulate its policies in the context of several triangular relations involving the other powers as well as Korea itself. As a result, they are coming to perceive Korea as one point of the diplomatic triangle. The three major powers—the U.S., China and Japan—also find that each is involved in another triangle together with each of the two Koreas of the divided Korea. Will this bring some of them, the United States and China, for example, head to head with each other over the Korean Peninsula? Or will there be a new kind of relationship in which the three actors maintain a healthy distance from one another and manage a peaceful and cooperative existence? The jury is still out on this question. But we could start by understanding how these triangular relationships have evolved to date.


Korea, because of its geopolitical condition as a country surrounded by powerful and ambitious neighboring powers, has experienced triangular relationships for many centuries, particularly between China and Japan. Through that kind of history, Koreans have acquired both the mentality and know-how regarding how to deal with the geo-political triangles. Sometimes they came out more intact than other times. Until 1900, Korea had had to recognize Chinese suzerainty through centuries. In the first half of the 20th century, Korea was colonized and ruled by Japan for 35 years. Afterwards, it became a divided country. The division has lasted for 75 years (until 2020) without the Koreans knowing when and whether they would be reunited. Throughout its centuries-long history, triangles of powers related to Korea have kept emerging and evolving. Essays in this book describe the politics of Korea triangles and how Koreans have handled them, particularly during the post-World War II period of 1945-2020.

These “essays” are a collection of slightly edited versions of texts I prepared over several decades—my commemorative lectures, book chapter contribution, conference keynote speeches, and a concluding chapter written specifically for this volume. As such, they were written at different times and on situations of different periods in history. Therefore, the realities and circumstances of each “triangle” may be different and specific depending upon when the “essay” was written” and what period it is dealing with. All of the essays were written during the 40-year period of 1980 to 2020.

However, there is one thread that goes through the whole volume. It is the theme that Korea as a nation and Koreans as a people have had to go through and meet the challenge of walking and treading a tight rope of the triangular relationships they were engaged in among the surrounding powers and have had to find a way to survive and thrive. The essays will hopefully tell how well they have done, are doing, and will do.

(From the Preface)





| Chapter 1 | The Emerging Triangle I: Korea and China in Historical Perspective
Early China-Korea Relations
Consequences of the Korean War (1950–53)
The Road to Normalization
China and South Korea: Approaching a New Century
China-Korea Relations and the Other Major Powers
Some Concluding Observations

| Chapter 2 | The Emerging Triangle II: The U.S.-Korea Relations
The Early Decades: A Slow Start
Post-Independence Relationship
South Korean Relationship with the United States in the Post-Korean War Period
South Korea-United States Relations in the 1960s
Bilateral Relations in the 1960s
Korean Reaction to Carter Troop Withdrawal Plan
Korea-U.S. Relations in the Post-Park Period
Korea and the Carter Administration
The Reagan Administration’s Korea Policy
The North Korea Question
Future Perspective

| Chapter 3 | The Emerging Triangle III: The North Korean Nuclear Issue
North Korean Policy Toward the United States and Nuclear Weapons
Nineteen Months: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis of 1993–94
Fast Forward, 2020
North Korea, Today
The Korea Focus: The Influence of the Major Powers
A New Triangle Takes Shape: Korean Attitudes Toward the U.S. and the PRC
The Unification Question

| Chapter 4 | An Uneasy Triangle: Korea Between China and Japan
The Geopolitical Situation in Northeast Asia
Korea’s Role in China-Japan-Korea Triangle
The Northeast Asia Triangle and North Korean Nuclear Issue
Rise of China and Resurgent Nationalism in Northeast Asia

| Chapter 5 | Division Management and Unification: Korea vs. Germany
Status of Inter-Korea Relations
Possibility for Duplication?
Persuading Major Powers
China’s Interests and Reasons for Its Stance

| Chapter 6 | A Grand Strategy for South Korea?
The Regional Landscape: South Korea and the Major Powers
Strategic Choices