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Why South Korea Will Stay Out of the South China Sea

Nov 6, 2015 | 06:45 GMT
South Korean President Park Geun Hye (L) delivers a speech as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd R) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) listen during a business summit in Seoul on Nov. 1.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

South Korea may be slow to follow Japan's example in supporting countries seeking to assert their maritime rights in the South China Sea against China's expanding presence. Though the waters off the southeast Chinese coast are a vital trade route for South Korea, as they are for other surrounding countries, committing military force there would risk hurting the country's close trade relationship with China. That is a risk South Korea may not be ready to take, especially since it would mean throwing its lot in with its historical colonizer, Japan....

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