Balance with Washington, China is seen as a ‘blessing’With Korea straddling Washington and Beijing on several sensitive key issues, specifically the deployment of a U.S.-led anti-ballistic missile system and its affiliation with a Chinese-led infrastructure bank, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se went so far as to call Seoul’s position a blessing in disguise.
“A situation where we are receiving calls from the United States and China is not a dilemma nor a headache, but a blessing,” Yun said at an annual meeting of overseas diplomats held Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in central Seoul.
Korea this month reached a decision to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, despite worries that the move could raise concerns from Washington.
Seoul has also been deliberating over whether to deploy the U.S.-led Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system on the Korean Peninsula, a potential move that Beijing sees as a threat to regional stability.
“While one can say that it may be difficult to maintain both the Korea-U.S. relationship and the Korea-China relationship, which are at their best, the Asia-Pacific region is big enough to accommodate both the United States and China,” he continued.
The weeklong Foreign Ministry meeting brought together some 175 overseas embassy and consulate leaders.
Yun also called for the early commencement of a trilateral leaders’ summit with Korea, China and Japan as a follow-up to a trilateral foreign ministerial meeting this month.
“Progress was made for a change in the Korea-Japan-China trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting, and we must strike while the iron is hot,” he said.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]