"It (China) was seen to be a great power and becoming a great power when it developed economic capability to influence things around the world through its assistance programs, through its trade through its investment, that is where power is now, it is not in military force."

He also dismissed concerns that the US could be reluctant to get engaged in another war in Asia, possibly on the Korean Peninsula, due to public fatigue over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I think people said the same thing at the end of the Vietnam War. They said the US will never go to war again on the Asian continent. That even turned out not to be accurate. American people get over this quite quickly," he said.

The US has reportedly abandoned its long-held strategy to fight two wars at the same time and adopted the so-called "one plus strategy" in which it fights a war while deterring another. This has triggered concerns over peninsular security.

"I think people see an enormous difference between situations of insurgency warfare in a not very developed country with a worry about the commitment of the people to the government they were supporting. They worry about whether there is a viable political structure in it," he said.

"That is not at all in the case of Korea. I don't have any doubt that if there was a war on the Korean Peninsula, which I think is extraordinarily unlikely, that the US will stand with South Korea."

Asked if he agrees that Korea will become one of the most endangered states should the US security commitment become unreliable amid China's possible regional preeminence, he said it is unlikely.

In his latest book, "Strategic Vision," Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, listed South Korea as one of the "geographically most endangered states" along with Georgia, Taiwan, Belarus and several others.

"I think that is thinking that comes out of a different century and a different generation. I don't think the world works that way any more. I think the behavior of state is much more affected by its own people and by its domestic political situation, particularly in a country like Korea, which is now firmly, clearly a democratic state," he said.

"Moreover, I think that China, for a very long time, will remain focused. I think it has been since the current regime came to power, on its own internal economic development. China is still a very poor country and I don't think it will seek to dominate the Republic of Korea."

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