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Moon says S. Korea not considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

By Yonhap

Published : Dec. 13, 2021 - 10:54

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold a joint press conference after their summit talks at the Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Moon arrived in Australia the previous day for a four-day state visit. (Yonhap) South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold a joint press conference after their summit talks at the Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Moon arrived in Australia the previous day for a four-day state visit. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in said Monday that South Korea is not considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics and has not been asked by any nation to do so.

Moon addressed the issue for the first time after the United States announced last week that it will not send an official delegation to the Olympics in February over concerns about China's human rights abuses.

"The South Korean government is not considering (a boycott)," Moon said at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison after bilateral summit talks in Canberra.

"Regarding a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, we have not been asked by the United States or any other nation to join (the boycott)," he said.

Washington's decision has left Seoul in a delicate position as it seeks to balance its relationship with its biggest ally with its close trading relationship with Beijing.

The boycott also throws cold water on Seoul's hopes to use the Olympics as a venue for inter-Korean reconciliation, as during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and to possibly declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The United States, China and North Korea have all expressed their agreement in theory, in principle," Moon said. "However, because North Korea is demanding the fundamental withdrawal of the US' hostile policy toward the North as a precondition, we have not been able to enter talks."

Moon said his government will work until the end to bring the parties to an agreement. During the war, the US fought alongside South Korea to fend off an invasion by North Korea, which was backed by China. The conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Moon made clear his state visit to Australia has nothing to do with Seoul's position on Beijing, despite China's anger over the AUKUS security alliance involving Australia, Britain and the US

"South Korea makes its alliance with the US the foundation of its diplomacy and national security, but in economic terms, its relationship with China is also very important," he said.

"China's constructive efforts are required for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and for North Korea's denuclearization," he continued, adding South Korea is working to maintain both relationships. (Yonhap)