China decision on bilateral talks with Korea depends on Seoul’s Taiwan attitude

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul, second from left, talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, at their bilateral talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Monday. Yonhap

China has confirmed that Premier Li Qiang will participate in the Korea-China-Japan trilateral summit at the end of the month. But whether China would agree to bilateral talks with Korea during the summit hinges on whether Korea will honor its commitment not to send a delegation for the inauguration of Taiwan’s new leader, Lai Ching-te, on May 20, according to a source with connections with top Chinese officials.Woo Su-keun, chairman of the Seoul-based Korea-China Global Association, said that during his recent visit to mainland China last month, it was disclosed, in private discussions with high-ranking Chinese officials from the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council, that bilateral talks depend solely on Korea’s stance regarding Taiwan.“If, on May 20, China rests assured after seeing that Korea does not send envoys to Taiwan to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new president as they had indicated, China would give a nod to a separate bilateral summit,” Woo said.“In other words, the current state of Sino-Korean relations hinges entirely on Korea’s initiatives.”

President Yoon Suk Yeol had agreed that Korea would not dispatch a delegation, and that only representatives from the Korean Mission in Taipei will participate in the inauguration, Woo added, although some members of the National Assembly may choose to attend, which is beyond the control of the president.Woo, a longtime adviser to Chinese policymakers, is also the president of the Korea-China Friendship Federation, with members being Korean companies and institutions with China engagements.An exact date for the Korea-China-Japan trilateral summit has yet to be disclosed, but media reports have said the three countries are in talks to hold a long-overdue high-level summit likely on May 26 and 27.Although this summit is unlikely to yield major tangible results, and consensus would be hard to reach given the varying situations of the three countries, the contact itself is critical for Chinese leaders to test the waters and decide whether a change and a more friendly relationship can be made, Woo said.“China is keen to gauge whether Seoul is willing to reorient its pro-U.S. foreign policy stance, and if the general attitude and atmosphere was amicable, this summit could herald more favorable policies as well as people and cultural exchanges, closer economic ties and eventually an improved bilateral relationship,” Woo 온라인카지노 added.

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