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Issues & Insights Vol. 21, WP15 — More Harm than Good: Why Chinese Sanctions over THAAD have Backfired

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 2017 South Korean Moon Jae-in, in response to North Korean ballistics testing, adopted a resolution to implement the THAAD missile interceptor system. Beijing had long been opposed to the system and as a result initiated a series of unofficial, punitive economic sanctions against South Korea which covered a range of industries. However, Beijing’s actions did little to alter Seoul’s decisions and have instead damaged China-South Korea relations. A similar paradigm has since appeared within China-Australia relations. How nations respond and adapt to such tactics in the future is a question of critical importance.

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About the Author

Daniel Mitchum (daniel@pacforum.org) has spent the last 12 years living and working in South Korea. He holds a dual BA in Global Politics and East Asian Studies from State University of New York, Albany and an MA in International Cooperation from Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul. The majority of Daniel’s master’s research was focused on North Korea, culminating in his thesis which explored the embeddedness of nuclear weapons within the DPRK regime. Daniel has previously worked with organizations such as Liberty in North Korea to aid North Korean refugees in acculturation, the North Korea Review academic journal as a blog writer and copy editor, as well as World Vision Korea as an assistant in HIV/AIDS awareness outreach. Beyond the Korean peninsula, Daniel’s research interests include East Asian geopolitics, the rise of China, and America’s East Asian alliance system.