Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Yonhap)
China’s top diplomat on Friday said the two Koreas should decide the fate of the Korean Peninsula themselves, while stressing his country will serve a “constructive role” to bring peace on the peninsula.
“South and North Korea are indeed the true masters of the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, the fate of the peninsula should be given to the two Koreas,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his meeting with National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seung. “As an important neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China will continue to serve a constructive role.”
Wang made the remark in response to Park’s statement that the two Koreas should have the final say on matters related to the peninsula.
Wang stressed that his visit here, as the COVID-19 situation has yet to end, is intended to show trust between the two countries and express willingness for bolstering strategic trust in the post-COVID-19 period.
“Establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization is of vital importance for the prosperity, peace and stability in Asia,” Park told Wang. “The international cooperation is important, and specifically we need cooperation between the US and China.”
Park, while expressing appreciation for China’s constructive cooperation, asked for it to take a bigger role in bringing North Korea back to the negotiation table.
Earlier in the day, the Chinese envoy also met with presidential security adviser Moon Chung-in and Reps. Youn Kun-young and Hong Ihk-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.
Wang arrived in Seoul on Wednesday, following a two-day visit to Japan, where he met Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. His back-to-back trip to Tokyo and Seoul is widely seen as an effort to secure ties with the two East Asian neighbors ahead of the inception of the Joe Biden administration in the US.
When asked whether his trip is to pressure Seoul to align with Beijing amid an escalating US-China rivalry, Wang ruled out such speculation, saying “the US is not the only country in the world” and that each of the countries are independent and sovereign states.
On Thursday, Wang held talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, discussing a range of issues including COVID-19 responses, an upcoming trilateral summit between Korea, China and Japan, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s planned visit here and bilateral exchanges, among other topics. The two top diplomats also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation over antivirus efforts, trade and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Wang then met with President Moon Jae-in in the afternoon, where the South Korean leader said his administration will continue to work with Beijing and the international community to achieve denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In regards to the possibility of Xi’s visit here within this year, Wang told reporters that the coronavirus must be brought under “complete control” first.
But both sides agreed to actively communicate for Xi’s visit at the earliest date when the COVID-19 situation stabilizes and conditions are created, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Xi was set to visit Seoul in the first half of this year, but the trip was delayed upon the outbreak of COVID-19. But with the latest hike in coronavirus infections here, it is unclear whether his trip could happen before the year-end.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com