China’s Xi, S. Korean PM likely to meet Saturday: Yonhap

  • China
  • Friday, 22 Sep 2023

BEIJING (Bloomberg): Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo (pic) could meet soon on the sidelines of a sporting event this weekend, Yonhap News reported, as Seoul looks to revive a stalled three-way summit that also includes Japan.

Han leaves for China on Saturday (Sept 23) to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou and is likely to meet Xi before the event that day, Yonhap reported, citing a government official speaking on the condition of anonymity. Han’s office declined to comment on reports of a possible meeting and any timing for talks.

If the meeting happens it would be the first high-level discussions since a summit between Xi and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in November on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. At that meeting Xi called for accelerating negotiations of a trade deal and boosting cooperation in high-tech manufacturing.

Read: Xi Seeks High-Tech Cooperation in Summit With South Korea’s Yoon

The remarks by the Chinese leader came as the US was pressuring security partners including South Korea, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Japan to comply with sweeping curbs on the sale of advanced chips - a move seen as targeting China’s tech sector.

South Korea is working to revive a three-way summit with Japan and China - those talks last happened in 2019 and then stalled, initially due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then political tensions. South Korea’s ambassador to Tokyo said in an interview this week that high-level talks are underway for the summit to happen this year, noting that this wouldn’t affect Seoul’s ties with Washington.

Read: South Korea Seeks Revived China-Japan Summit to Shore Up Ties

Yoon met Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of his recent visit to Indonesia and India for the Asean and G-20 summits and received expressions of support for the restart of the three-way summit, Yoon’s office had said. Deputy foreign ministers from the three nations are due to meet next week in Seoul to discuss trilateral cooperation and this could help facilitate the summit.

Beijing has found itself under pressure in the wake of revived cooperation between South Korea, Japan and the US that has bolstered joint military drills, including missile-defense exercises and information sharing. Their improving relations also led to a historic summit of Joe Biden, Yoon and Kishida in August.

Biden said this meeting resulted in steps that would help all three as they confront mutual threats, including Chinese aggression in the Asia-Pacific and North Korea’s nuclear program. China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the summit as a deliberate attempt to sow discord among the Asian neighbors.

Read: Biden’s Summit With Asian Allies Further Isolates China

Biden’s deepening diplomacy in Asia has been aimed at showing how the US is committed to strengthening relationships with longstanding allies to entrench its global influence. Beijing’s own regional diplomatic outreach has had limited success, particularly as military tensions increase with Taiwan.

South Korea’s prime minister is below the president in power, often playing a ceremonial role abroad and helping coordinate government policy at home.

--With assistance from Shinhye Kang.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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China , South Korea , Han Duk-soo


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