Korea becomes diplomatic battlefield between US, China

29-Sep-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Korea once again appears to be being dragged into a diplomatic row between the United States and China as the top diplomats of the two countries are expected to visit here next month, and are both likely to pressure Seoul to stand with the “right side” in pursuing its foreign policy.

According to diplomatic sources, Monday, Korea and China are in talks over Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi’s trip to Korea for next month ? although the format and time have not been decided yet.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands before their meeting in Beijing in this October 2018 photo. They are both expected to visit Korea next month. / Korea Times file

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands before their meeting in Beijing in this October 2018 photo. They are both expected to visit Korea next month. / Korea Times file

If realised, Wang would have visited Korea twice in less than a year, with his last visit being December 2019. Yang Jiechi, the head of the Communist Party’s foreign affairs office, also traveled to Busan last month and met with National Security Adviser Suh Hoon.

During his envisaged trip, Wang is expected to talk with Foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha about bilateral pending issues, including Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Korea, as well as the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, but Beijing’s efforts are likely to focus on persuading Seoul from participating in the US-led movement to keep China at bay in their “new Cold War.”

His trip also carries extra significance as US Secretary State Mike Pompeo is also expected to travel to Korea early next month.

“Wang’s trip is China’s countermeasure to Pompeo’s Korea visit, which would be aimed at presenting a united front with Korea and Japan against China,” said Park Won-gon, a professor of international politics at Handong Global University.

Park said the US secretary is expected to urge Korea to express its intention to participate in an expanded form of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), a strategic forum established in 2007 to counter China.

“Taking advantage of Xi’s planned visit to Korea, China may cajole the government into staying away from the US-led Indo-Pacific strategy, aimed at containing its rise in the region.”

Shin Beom-chul, director of the centre for Diplomacy and Security at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said China was going tit-for-tat over Pompeo’s visit.

“While the US will urge Korea to stick to the ROK-US alliance, China is likely to stress their bilateral strategic relationship, but in the end, both countries will try to win Korea over to their side in their intensifying diplomatic row,” he said.

Shin advised the government to take a cautious approach to the issue.

“While Korea is trying to benefit from its respective ties with the US and China, it must not cause misunderstanding about them,” he added.

Last week, Foreign minister Kang told a virtual seminar, hosted by the US-based non-profit foundation Asia Society, that it was not a good idea to join QUAD to constrain China.

“We don’t think anything that automatically shuts out, and is exclusive of, the interests of others is a good idea,” Kang said.

“If it’s a structured alliance, we will certainly think very hard on whether it serves our security interests.”

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2020/09/120_296815.html

 


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