South Korea summons Chinese envoy over comments accusing Seoul of excessive tilting to US

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador on Friday to protest comments he made accusing Seoul of turning to the United States and walking away of China, as competition between Washington and Beijing for global influence intensifies.

South Korea’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin has warned Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming of his “senseless and provocative” remarks during a meeting with a South Korean opposition leader.

The ministry accused Xing of violating diplomatic protocols and interfering with South Korean domestic politics, but did not specify which parts of Xing’s comments it considered inappropriate. The ministry also did not share what Xing said in response to Chang.

In a meeting Thursday with South Korean Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, a key rival to conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol, Xing accused Yoon’s government of leaning excessively toward Seoul’s ally, the states. United States, and damage its relations with China, its largest trading partner.

Xing said South Korea was entirely responsible for the “many difficulties” in bilateral relations, citing its growing trade deficit with China which he attributed to “dechinaization” efforts, apparently referring to the actions of South Korean companies. Korean companies to move their supply chains. from China. He demanded that Seoul respect Beijing’s core interests, including Taiwan and other major regional issues.

“As the United States presses China with all its might, some are betting that the United States will win and China will lose. But that is clearly bad judgement,” Xing said, describing a bright future for his country under authoritarian leader Xi Jingping. “What can be said with certainty is that those who bet on losing China will surely regret it later,” Xing said.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said Xing’s “irresponsible” comments run counter to “the desire of the governments and peoples of both countries to value and further advance South Korea-China relations.” China on the basis of mutual respect”.

South Korea, whose economy is heavily dependent on exports of computer memory chips and other tech products, is struggling to balance the United States, its military ally for decades, and China. , the biggest buyer of its wares as the rivalry between Washington and Beijing deepens regional influence and technology.

Faced with a growing nuclear threat from North Korea, Yoon pushed aggressively to strengthen the alliance with the United States, making it a central goal of his policy.

Seoul has expanded joint military training with the United States and is seeking stronger assurances that it would quickly and decisively use its nuclear weapons to defend South Korea in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack.

The Biden administration, in turn, has sought to strengthen tripartite cooperation with South Korea and Japan to counter both the North Korean threat and China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy.

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