June 25, 2024

China cautioned South Korea on Monday about its deepening relations with the United States and Japan, stressing the increasing strain in Beijing-Seoul ties and urging against additional pressure on the relationship from external interference, according to South Korean media.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said in his talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yul in the Chinese capital that the “difficulties and challenges facing South Korea-China relations have clearly increased” and that Beijing does not desire such a situation, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Wang’s remarks apparently referred to stronger ties among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo pursued by the government of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (R) and South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yul shake hands befeore their talks in Beijing on May 13, 2024. (Yonhap/Kyodo)

Cho called for managing relations between China and South Korea to prevent differences from escalating into conflicts, Yonhap reported.

“I believe it’s important that not one side, but both sides, make efforts to carefully manage ties in a way that disagreements will not turn into conflicts for the development of bilateral relations,” the minister was quoted as saying.

Cho and Wang also agreed to continue working together to ensure the success of an upcoming summit between Yoon, Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

The three-way summit, which will be the first between the countries since a gathering in December 2019 in Chengdu, southwestern China, is expected to take place in Seoul around May 26-27.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (far R) and South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yul (far L) hold talks in Beijing on May 13, 2024. (Yonhap/Kyodo)

As for North Korea, Cho expressed concern over Pyongyang’s threatening rhetoric and provocations that have escalated regional tensions as well as its military cooperation with Russia, the South Korean ministry said.

Cho called on China, which is North Korea’s closest and most influential ally economically, to play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability as well as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while Wang responded that Beijing will do so, the ministry added.

The two also agreed to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, including stable management of supply chains. Cho invited Wang to visit South Korea and the top Chinese diplomat said he would do so at a mutually convenient time, according to the ministry.

Cho, on a two-day trip to China through Tuesday, visited the neighboring country for the first time since he assumed the post of foreign minister in January. In 2022, his predecessor, Park Jin, held talks with Wang in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao.

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