In the midst of escalating tensions in Taiwan and the ongoing US-China trade war, South Korea is seeking to diversify its export markets, while French President Emmanuel Macron emphasizes the importance of an independent foreign policy for the European Union (EU).
South Korea has been experiencing a decline in exports to ASEAN countries, with its exports to the region decreasing for six consecutive months from October last year to March this year. Vietnam, which has emerged as the country’s largest trade surplus nation, is facing export challenges, causing concerns for South Korea. This situation highlights the necessity for South Korea to diversify its export markets, focusing on expanding its presence in markets such as ASEAN, India, and other emerging economies.
French President Emmanuel Macron, during a recent interview with French business daily Les Echos, stressed the need for the EU to maintain an independent foreign policy, avoiding being pulled into global crises, and steering clear of a “bloc versus bloc logic.” Macron’s statements came after his visit to China, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and discussed issues including the situation in Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With South Korea’s export reliance on the US and China, Macron’s call for the EU’s “strategic autonomy” can serve as an example for South Korea as it navigates the complex geopolitical landscape. Like the EU, South Korea could focus on maintaining its independent foreign policy line, potentially functioning as a “third pole” in geopolitics, alongside the US and China.
As tensions continue to rise over Taiwan, both South Korea and the EU should strive to understand China’s perspective on the matter, recognizing the importance of unity for both Europeans and the Chinese, with Taiwan being a component of that unity from China’s viewpoint.
To prepare for uncertainties in the global market, South Korea must expedite its efforts in diversifying its export markets, engaging in comprehensive market research, identifying potential business partners, and expanding its presence in emerging economies like India. By following the EU’s lead in maintaining strategic autonomy, South Korea can ensure its resilience in the face of ongoing geopolitical tensions and foster a more robust and diversified economy. This approach will allow South Korea to navigate the complex international landscape more effectively, securing its long-term economic and political interests.