North’s nukes to be discussed with China: top envoy
“I intend to emphasize the importance of China's role in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue,” Park told a group of reporters upon his arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali on Thursday, according to Yonhap.
Park is in Bali through Friday to attend the G20 foreign ministerial summit.
His team was said to be scheduling a dozen sideline meetings with top envoys of the G20 members, which include China, Japan, the United States, Indonesia, Britain, France, Mexico, India and Saudi Arabia.
A meeting with China's top envoy was not confirmed as of press time Thursday.
Park is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Friday.
In response to a question on whether he expected Wang to bring up Korea’s attendance of a NATO summit and its membership in the U.S.-led economic coalition Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), Park said he expects to discuss “various issues, in an open manner.”
Should a meeting between Park and Wang take place on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial summit, it would be their first in-person meeting since Park was sworn in two months ago.
“Since continuous strategic communication between Korea and China is beneficial to the national interests of both countries, we expect to continue to discuss ways to cooperate based on common interests between the two countries,” said Ahn Eun-ju, a deputy spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in a press briefing Thursday.
Korea and China are celebrating their 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.
Relations soured in recent years over Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S.-led antimissile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in Korea in 2016, and China’s subsequent economic retaliations. Beijing asserted Thaad was an American scheme to spy on China.
China recently bristled at members of NATO for putting out a statement after their summit that characterized it as a challenge to world peace and security. When the IPEF launched in May, with Korea as one of its 13 members, the Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed it as an attempt by the United States to “decouple” some countries form the Chinese economy.
The former administration in Korea led by Moon Jae-in emphasized a policy called “strategic ambiguity” when it came to anything involving the U.S.-China rivalry.
The Yoon Suk-yeol government said it will depart from that policy and base its diplomatic overtures on a stronger alliance with the United States, while seeking open communications and cooperation with China where necessary, branding itself as a “global pivotal state.”
Park stopped in Singapore on Wednesday on his way to Bali and met with its prime minister, foreign minister and trade minister, discussing cooperation on digitalization and IPEF, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Park said that there are no plans to meet with the Russian top envoy, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial summit.
“I am sure there will be opportunities to speak spontaneously, but no, there is no specific meeting scheduled,” Park told reporters at the airport in Bali.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]