While Seoul has ignored Beijing’s anxiety over its THAAD deployment, China has imposed restrictions on trade, economic activities, and cultural exchanges with South Korea in retaliation. Specifically, China has banned all imports of South Korean entertainment and music.
Many countries, including India and China, the security normalizing and economically recovering Japan and the ASEAN Economic Community are all looking forward to working with the incoming Trump administration in the US.
Being in the driver’s seat for regionalism and positing its centrality in East Asia, ASEAN can aggregate the interests of all major powers like US, China, Japan, India, Russia and the EU as well as middle powers like South Korea and Australia.
One indication of a stable Sino-US relationship is revealed in the Chinese reaction to the Trump-Tsai phone conversation. Beijing sought to downplay its significance, and the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi described it as “just a small trick” by Taiwan.
An influence-peddling scandal raised a groundswell of anger towards South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Members of the public took part in large rallies to voice their opposition. On December 9, South Korea’s parliament voted to impeach Park.
After fighting between government forces and rebel groups broke out in the northeast Myanmar border towns of Muse and Kutkai, some Myanmarese fled into Chinese territory. A Chinese daily reported that a state-owned structure suffered light damage from stray shells.