The Republic of Korea will remain ready for dialogue and cooperation with Russia despite their differences
A series of events related to the consequences of Russian and Chinese bomber training flights over the Sea of Japan gives us cause for reflecting on the relationship between Russia and the Republic of Korea and how it may change in the foreseeable future. From a formal point of view, the strategic partnership between the two countries remains; by 2020, bilateral trade is set to increase to $30 billion. According to statistical data, Russian-South Korean trade has experienced growth over the past years, which generally justifies the expectations. A surge of activity has been observed in other areas - science, education, culture and tourism. Vladivostok has become one of the more popular destinations of overseas tourism for many citizens of the Republic of Korea, especially since they don't need a visa for a short visit.
Moscow and Seoul are both interested in cooperating more on various issues on the regional political agenda. For example, the centre-left administration of Moon Jae-in is ready for dialogue with our country, and, as noted by many observers, his Democratic Party has demonstrated much greater interest in Russian foreign policy initiatives than their opponents, the conservatives. Such initiatives include an updated version of the Russian-Chinese road map to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, against the background of constant friction with Japan and certain difficulties in the dialogue with China and the United States, relations between South Korea and Russia look more amicable, and are characterised by a constructive agenda. At the political level, the Republic of Korea so far refrains from participating in the “containment” of Russia, guided by its own interests.
At the same time, a considerable number of liberal politicians and observers have drawn the attention of their audience to the fact that, despite loud statements about the inviolability of close relations between South Korea and the United States, the Americans themselves prefer to play only “a one-way street game”. In relations between the two countries, there is still the problem of redistributing costs to maintain the American military contingent in the southern part of the peninsula. As the recent visit of John Bolton to the Republic of Korea showed, Washington tries to make Seoul meet most of the defence obligations in this area. Hopes that the United States would provide all possible diplomatic support in resolving the political crisis in Japanese-South Korean relations have not come true. To date, the US seeks to maintain its "neutrality" in this dispute, without supporting any of the parties.