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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsSome analysts believe that "the American era is coming to an end, as the Western-oriented world order is increasingly replaced by one dominated by the East."

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsThe historian Niall Ferguson wrote, I quote : "the ... twentieth century witnessed 'the descent of the West' and 'a reorientation of the world' toward the East."

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsIn a similar vein, Hillary Clinton said in 2011, I quote: "The future of global politics will be decided in Asia" unquote. So, Asia's rise is changing the world. This so-called "Asian century" is obviously marked by the rise of China. Of course, there are worries about China's economic slowdown. Stock markets in China have recently fallen again; and the 2015 economic growth in China, which was 6. 9% of GDP, was slowest in 25 years. However, there is no denying the fact that China is the world's second largest economy, and it is responsible for more than 15% of global GDP. China will continue to be an engine of global output, even though growth is slowing, according to the IMF.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsWhat is more, regardless of whether China can continue to make remarkable economic growth, China is one of the most crucial nations from the perspectives of Asian nations, particularly South Korea's perspective.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsFirst, China is the largest trading partner of South Korea: in 2015, China accounted for more than 25 percent of South Korea's total exports. Meanwhile, in that year, South Korea, as Asia's fourth-largest economy, became second-largest trading partner of China. The trade and investment between the two countries are highly likely to continue to grow, with the recent Korea-China FTA in effect. Second, China can also play a significant role in security terms, for example, in dealing with the North Korea's nuclear issue. China is North Korea's most important ally, biggest trading partner. Since the early 1990s, China has served as the chief food supplier of Pyeongyang and has accounted for nearly 90 percent of its energy imports.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 secondsIn this sense, China can exercise decisive influences on North Korea's behaviour. Apart from the North Korean issue, we must take a close look at the recent developments in China's military in order to understand the power politics on the global stage. China is, indeed, one of the world's major military powers. China has ranked number 2 in military spending since 2008. China has also been rapidly developing its navy and air force, and double-digit increases in Chinese military spending have been common for most of the last decade. What is more, it seems that Chinese leaders want "great renaissance of the Chinese nation."

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 secondsPresident Xi Jinping said recently said: China and the United States should strive to create, I quote, "a new type of great power relationship ... Strengthening military alliances with a third party does not benefit the maintenance of regional security ... Matters in Asia ultimately must be taken care of by Asians ... and Asia's security ultimately must be protected by Asians."

Why is China important?

For many reasons:

China is one of the most crucial nations in the world, especially from South Korea’s perspective. For example, China is the largest trading partner of South Korea: in 2015, China accounted for more than 25 percent of South Korea’s total exports. The trade and investment between the two countries are highly likely to continue to grow, with the recent Korea-China FTA in effect.

China can also play a significant role in security terms, for example, in dealing with the North Korea’s nuclear issue. China is North Korea’s most important ally, biggest trading partner. Since the early 1990s, China has served as the chief food supplier of Pyongyang and has accounted for nearly 90 percent of its energy imports. In this sense, China can exercise decisive influences on North Korea’s behavior. Apart from the North Korean issue, we must take a close look at the recent developments in China’s military in order to understand the power politics on the global stage.

What is more, it seems that Chinese leaders want “great renaissance of the Chinese nation.” President Xi Jinping said recently: China and the United States should strive to create “a new type of great power relationship”.


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Korea in a Global Context

Hanyang University

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