Thesis (PhD)--University of South Australia, 2007. When South Korea and China normalised diplomatic relations on 24th of August 1992, more than four decades after the outbreak of the Korean War, it was seen by many as the accomplishment of something impossible, if not inconceivable. In retrospect the historic event was the natural culmination of relations between Seoul and Beijing since the late 1970s. In Europe, the end of the cold war was heralded by the reunification of Germany and the demise of state socialism in Eastern Europe; its East Asian counterpart was South Korea's normalising its diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union and China. The remarkable success of nordpolitik (as it was formerly known) was also projected to eventuate in a softening of relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), on the one hand, and Japan and the United States, on the other.