Home Asia Seoul Steps Up Diplomacy Ahead Of Three-Way Summit with Japan And China

Seoul Steps Up Diplomacy Ahead Of Three-Way Summit with Japan And China

South Korea

South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Cho Tae-yul, will travel to China next Monday and Tuesday following an invitation from his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry on Friday. This will be Cho’s inaugural visit to Beijing since assuming his role, and it will be the first visit by a South Korean foreign minister in over six years.

The two will discuss issues ranging from bilateral relations to a trilateral meeting with Japan and the situation on the Korean peninsula, the ministry said in a statement.

Cho will also meet South Korean business leaders and exchange views on how to boost economic exchange with China.

South Korea and China maintained significant economic ties, as China remains South Korea’s largest trading partner. They focused on enhancing bilateral trade and investment, especially in high-tech industries, to deepen economic cooperation. Both nations have also emphasised boosting their Free Trade Agreement and expanding collaboration in emerging sectors like digital economy and green technology.

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The visit comes ahead of a planned summit of South Korea, China and Japan on May 26th, the first such meeting since Dec 2019. The Covid pandemic derailed any further meeting, also the fact that relations between Tokyo and Seoul deteriorated. South Korea is the chair of this three-way summit and Cho’s visit is expected to focus on some of the key issues that could come up for discussion.

These include peace and security, economy and trade, public health and people to people contacts. Seoul also hopes summits of this kind will encourage China to curb North Korea’s belligerence and its missile and nuclear programmes. China has its own concerns, chiefly the fear that Japan and South Korea coming together with the US to strengthen security cooperation can only be at its cost.

Beijing would have noted the strengthened partnership between Japan, the US and the Philippines after their recent summit at the White House, and Tokyo’s role in the AUKUS partnership. There is also talk of Seould joining AUKUS.

With Inputs from Reuters