Appraising the “Thucydides Trap” geographically : the Korean factor in Sino-US relations

Xiangfeng YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In lieu of taking stock of the many problems presently plaguing Sino-US relations, this research zeroes in on just one of them – the evolving situation on the Korean Peninsula that has both alarmed and captivated the world. Korea, prima facie, is a case that has the likely potential to erupt into an open conflict between China and the United States. Situated against the broad context of great power entanglement on the Peninsula, this paper examines the convergence, as well as divergence, of interests and strategic objectives for both China and the United States in terms of areas of cooperation and competition. It argues that their shared aversion to a war, and the complex, multilateral nature of the matter, distinguishes Korea from other disputes, particularly Taiwan and the South China Sea. Korea, therefore, is not at the center of a Sino-US Thucydides Trap. Nevertheless, Sino-US competition to shape the future of the strategic landscape of the Peninsula will undoubtedly continue and might even intensify.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-203
Number of pages21
JournalPacific Focus
Issue number2
Early online date27 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Center for International Studies, Inha University


  • complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement
  • North Korea
  • Sino-US relations
  • Thucydides Trap


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