The Relation between the United States and the Countries of the Korean Peninsula in the 1970s: A Survey of the Chinese Academic Literature

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.4 No.1 pp.99-125 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Yan Jin
Department of History, East China Normal University

Received July 28, 2017; Revised version received February 15, 2018; Accepted March 1, 2018


In recent years, the relations between the United States (US) and the countries of the Korean Peninsula began to play a more important role for China. With the improvement of the level of Chinese scholarship, as well as the rapid declassification of the archival material on pre-1980 Cold War history, there emerged a lot of academic publications in China on the 1970s history of US relations with the two Koreas. Although Chinese scholars took different perspectives on this subject, the mainstream view maintains that with the ease of the Cold War tensions in the Northeast Asia, the relations between the United States and the countries on the Peninsula changed in the varying degrees in the 1970s: on the one hand, although the United States and South Korea still maintained their alliance, their relationship was characterized by friction and contradictions, as the issue of the withdrawal of the US troops and the human rights debates had vividly demonstrated; on the other hand, US-North Korean relations were marked by the rapid process of bilateral relaxation. In general, Chinese academic literature on US-South Korean relations is much more profound compared to the scholarly work on American relations with North Korea. And while in recent years remarkable progress has been made by Chinese scholars, there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in terms of broadening interdisciplinary studies and theory, utilizing multi-archival material, conducting in-depth research of the political systems, the decision-making processes in the relevant countries, as well as the politics within the lower levels of government, etc.

Key Words : US-South Korean relations; US-North Korean relations; Korean Studies in China; Détente; U.S. Congress; U.S. foreign policy

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