What would South Korea do if China attacked Taiwan? According to Cho, “many people in Washington, Taipei, and Tokyo are wondering. South Korea’s position remains much more ambivalent than Japan’s. Seoul is understandably more worried about the possibility of retaliation from China, akin to Beijing’s fury over the basing of a U.S. defensive missile system in South Korea several years ago. Seoul also has a unique concern that Beijing would turn even more non-cooperative in the future process of Korean unification, if it ever occurs, as a result of South Korean involvement in a war over Taiwan. However, there is a variety of scenarios for a Taiwan contingency that will impact South Korea’s security policies, especially the one involving a two-pronged war in both the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula.”
Dr. Sungmin Cho is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect those of DKI APCSS, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.