South Korea's Supply Chain Disruptions: A Conversation with Orville Schell
Is Seoul Caught Between Beijing and Washington?
November 16, 2021 — As President Biden kicks off his virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Asia Society Korea Executive Director Yvonne Kim hosted Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, to discuss Korea's recent supply chain disruptions in the broader context of U.S.-China great power rivalry. Schell, who is a long-time China observer, author, journalist, and former Dean and professor at UC Berkeley.
South Korea finds itself in a precarious position as the U.S.-China trade war intensifies across the region and spills over to impact the policies of regional stakeholders. Analysts have attributed the recent Korean diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) shortage or "urea crisis" to the ongoing Sino-U.S. power struggle in the Indo-Pacific — with Washington trying to create a unified front of regional allies to balance against Beijing.
Lamenting the political impasse in which America has been unable to get ambassadors to key countries like Korea and China, Schell pointed out that every country has a version of Korea's problems. "Korea just happens to be closer," he added. If China continues to be punitive and further separates itself from the liberal democratic world like oil and water, what would Korea do?
Watch the full interview with one of the world's greatest living sinologists to find out.