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South Korea

China and the Soviet Union

Chun continued Park's policy of improving relations with China and the Soviet Union and attached considerable importance to these two countries, long the allies of North Korea. Beijing and Moscow were thought to have much influence in charting the future of the Korean Peninsula and were thus a part of Nordpolitik (see Relations with the Soviet Union; Relations with China , ch. 4).

Seoul's official contact with Beijing was facilitated by the landing of a hijacked Chinese civilian airliner in May 1983. China sent a delegation of thirty-three officials to Seoul to negotiate the return of the airliner, marking the beginning of frequent exchanges of personnel. For example, in March 1984, a South Korean tennis team visited Kunming for a Davis Cup match with a Chinese team. In April 1984, a thirty-four-member Chinese basketball team arrived in Seoul to participate in the Eighth Asian Junior Basketball Championships. Some Chinese officials reportedly paid quiet visits to South Korea to inspect its industries, and South Korean officials visited China to attend various international conferences. Since China and South Korea began indirect trade in 1975, the volume has steadily increased (see Foreign Trade Policy , ch. 3).

The Soviet Union's unofficial relationship with South Korea began in 1973, when it permitted South Koreans to attend an international conference held in the Soviet Union. In October 1982, a Soviet official attended an international conference in South Korea on the preservation of cultural relics. The uproar following the Korean Air (KAL) 007 incident in September 1983, when the Soviet air force shot down the KAL passenger airplane, brought about a hiatus in contacts, but the unofficial relationship resumed in 1988.

Data as of June 1990