Shabby scorecard of the Korea-China summit

Home > National >

print dictionary print

Shabby scorecard of the Korea-China summit

The author is head of the China Institute of the JoongAng Ilbo and CEO of the China Lab.

Was the first face-to-face summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 15 a success or a failure? If you were to grade it, what score would you give it? The government claims it did a good job as the Korea-China summit during the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, was not initially finalized but did take place in the end. It could be a reasonable assessment, but the current Korea-China relationship is too pathetic to be so self-complacent.

Frankly, both Yoon and Xi cannot afford to visit the other country right now. Yoon is of the position that Xi should come to Korea this time since his predecessor visited China twice. But Xi doesn’t feel the need to visit Korea amid the strong anti-Chinese sentiment here. He said he would visit Korea when the Covid-19 situation stabilizes, but it’s a lame excuse.

At this point, meeting in a third country would be the best option. But even this was not arranged in advance and hurriedly took place in Bali, showing just how bumpy the high-level communication between the two countries is. Such a grim mood was illustrated in China’s coverage of the Korea-China summit. Xi had bilateral meetings with 19 countries in the trip. What’s interesting is the amount of coverage.

According to a program that shows the word count, the article on Xi’s summit with U.S. President Joe Biden had 2,868 words, with a 10 minute, 51 second video. Xi’s second and third longest summits were with the heads of Thailand and Indonesia, with 1,610 words and 1,172 words respectively. The fourth was his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, with a 1,025-word article and a 3 minute, 54 second video. The Korea-China summit had the shortest coverage with 491 words and 1 minute, 46 seconds. Korea is the only country with less than 500 words in its article. This is the current state of Korea-China relations after 30 years of diplomatic relations.

Sometimes the format overrides the content. The coverage clearly shows how China perceives and deals with Korea compared to countries around the world. Korea may be better off than British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who canceled a meeting with Xi at the last minute, or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had an argument with Xi. So I wouldn’t say Yoon completely flunked. But I cannot call it a success either. If I were to score the Korea-China summit, covered by 491 words, it would be 49 points at best, or probably 41.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)