South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (left) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands before their talks at a hotel in Xiamen in southeastern China in April. (Yonhap)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemned the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy as evidence of a “Cold War mentality,” and called for China and South Korea to stick to their political consensus as President Moon Jae-in prepares for the G-7 summit, where Washington is expected to encourage its allies to take a tougher stance toward Beijing.
Wang’s remarks came during a phone conversation with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday evening, according to the statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
During their conversation, Wang said the Indo-Pacific strategy promoted by the US was “full of Cold War mentality and stirs up confrontation among different groups, which is not conducive to regional peace, stability and development.”
“As friendly neighbors and strategic partners, China and the ROK should know well the rights and wrongs, stick to the correct position, abide by political consensus and never be misled.” The ROK refers to the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.
China’s hard-line message is seen as an apparent warning to Seoul not to side with Washington amid heated rivalry between the two superpowers and especially as President Moon Jae-in is slated to attend the G-7 summit in the UK from Friday through Sunday. South Korea has been invited as a guest to this year’s session of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies. As US President Joe Biden is expected to rally leaders for a united stance against an assertive China at the meeting, Seoul’s tough balancing act between its security ally the US and top trading partner China could be tested again.
The statement released by the South Korean Foreign Ministry on the phone talks did not include Wang’s tough language, but only mentioned that Chung had voiced hope for the “stable development” of relations between the US and China.
During their talks, the two top diplomats also agreed to continue working toward a visit to Seoul by Chinese President Xi Jinping as early as possible, when the COVID-19 situation improves.
The two sides also reaffirmed the shared goal of the denuclearization and establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org