The Korea Herald


Clashes over China mark late campaign

By Kim Arin

Published : April 10, 2024 - 16:00

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Han Dong-hoon, the ruling People Power Party leader, campaigns in a final push for votes Tuesday evening in Jongno, central Seoul. (Yonhap) Han Dong-hoon, the ruling People Power Party leader, campaigns in a final push for votes Tuesday evening in Jongno, central Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s two major parties traded barbs over their respective stance on China and foreign policies over the final days leading to the National Assembly election on Wednesday.

Rep. Lee Jae-myung, the Democratic Party of Korea leader, slammed President Yoon Suk Yeol’s “touted value-based diplomacy” as having an adverse impact on the country’s economic partnerships with China.

“Our economic domain is shrinking globally because the Yoon administration is too focused on keeping up the so-called ‘value democracy’ while ignoring practical needs,” the main opposition chief said in one of his final campaign stops in Yeouido, near the National Assembly, Monday.

Lee, who is accused in five different criminal cases, was forced to take a break from campaigning the day before the election to attend court.

He said that South Korea’s diplomatic and security circumstances under Yoon “have rapidly deteriorated.” “The foreign policy failures of Yoon have led to Russia and North Korea becoming ever closer, so much so that Russia is providing North Korea with military support.”

Hee claimed that Yoon’s stance has also invited a warning from the US.

“The US has issued an official warning that ‘if another war were to break after the ones in Ukraine and the Middle East, it will be on the Korean Peninsula.’ Our security situation is more treacherous than ever,” he said.

“Foreign investments in South Korea are bound to decrease as a result (of these policies), stock prices will drop, and of course, our economy will suffer.”

The Democratic Party leader has characterized the National Assembly election as “South Korea versus Japan,” in an apparent jab at the Yoon administration that he has accused of being “pro-Japan.”

“This election, more than anything, is team South Korea against team Japan,” he said at a rally held at one of the major political battlefields in South Chungcheong Province on March 23.

Han Dong-hoon, the ruling People Power Party leader, said a Democratic Party victory would mean “weakened ties with allies such as the US and Japan” and the “return of China and North Korea appeasement” approach of the former Democratic Party President Moon Jae-in.

“Our security alliance with the US has quickly been restored since Yoon took office. Security cannot be assured without a strong alliance with the US as well as close trilateral cooperation with the US and Japan,” he said during a final rally in Seoul on Tuesday.

He urged voters not to let the Democratic Party, which “will be submissive to China’s wishes,” take control of the National Assembly.

Han said Lee and the Democratic Party would assume a “‘xie xie’ diplomacy” with China, in a reference to the opposition party leader’s recent remarks.

During a March 22 rally, Lee slammed Yoon’s China and Taiwan policies, saying, “Why pester China, when we can just ‘xie xie’ along with them.”

The People Power Party then slammed Lee’s remarks as “kowtowing to Beijing.”