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Korea might have seen the annual trade deficit of $1.6 billion without the past 20 years of trade with China, according to a report titled "Statistics Reflecting 20 Years of Korea-China Diplomatic Ties," released by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in late August.
Korea has posted the trade surplus of $272.6 billion with China since 1992 when both countries established diplomatic relations.
Back in 1992, the US was Korea's largest trade partner with 23.0 percent, followed by Japan's 19.6 percent. Now, China has become Korea's No. 1 trade partner with 20.4 percent, followed by Japan's 10.0 percent and US' 9.3 percent.
Korea's trade volume with China has grown a whopping 35 times.
Its direct investment in China has also surged 25.3 times from $140 million in 1992 to $3.58 billion in 2011.
In particular, Korea's imports of agricultural products from China dramatically increased from $1.2 billion in 1992 to $4.5 billion in 2011.
Kimchi and garlics (100%), adzuki beans (99.5%), carrots (98.3%), onions (94.4%) and peppers (93.2%) which are imported to Korea come from China.
Chinese rice is responsible for 52.8 percent of the rice consumed by Koreans.
In addition, 53.7 percent of imported necessity goods in Korea are made in China.
The number of Korean and Chinese people travelling between the two countries has also skyrocketed. The number of Chinese tourists to Korea increased 24.7 times from 90,000 in 1992 to 2.22 million in 2011, while the number of Korean tourists to China grew 105 times from 40.000 to 4.185 million during the same period.