Moon of S.Korea is ‘rational and sober’ in the face of US pressure at G7 meeting
Published: Jun 10, 2021 12:06 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

South Korea said Wednesday that as an invited nation, it will not be part of a G7 joint statement, which is assumed to include content targeting and pressuring China. Chinese observers said this delivered a message to both China and the US that South Korea will not meddle in China-US competition. Seoul would not like to take risks by joining the anti-China front headed by Washington.

As the US seeks to rally its allies to take a harder stance against China, South Korea's Blue House spokesperson said in a news briefing on Wednesday that the G7 joint statement will be an official document enacted by G7 member states, and invited nations will not participate in it, South Korean media Kyunghyang Shinmun reported. 

While there have been media reports saying the US President Joe Biden is seeking to rally solidarity to pressure China at the meeting, experts believe it is crucial for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to strike a balance between the US and China.

China expressed disappointment over a joint statement issued by leaders from the US and South Korea last month which expressed the so-called concerns over the situations in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits.

In addition to the seven G7 member states, host country UK also invited South Korea, India, Australia and South Africa to attend this year's meeting. 

Also on Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said in a phone call with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi that as a close neighbor, South Korea attaches great importance to the development of bilateral strategic partnership, adheres to the one-China principle, and fully recognizes the sensitivity of cross-Taiwan Straits relations.

On the phone call, Wang reminded Chung that the US' "Indo-Pacific strategy" is the result of a Cold War mentality and aims to provoke confrontation, adding that as friendly neighbors and strategic partners, China and South Korea should abide by their political consensus. 

Asked by a reporter at the Thursday press conference whether the phone call is to contain the US ahead of the G7 meeting, Wang Wenbin, a Chinese spokesperson from the foreign ministry, said the two foreign ministers reached various consensus on the phone call. "China will join hands with South Korea to implement those consensus and further promote bilateral ties."   

Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that South Korea's aforehand positions prior to the G7 meeting on issues related to China is to prevent itself from falling into a dilemma at the elite club in which the US may persuade South Korea to take tougher stance against China. But South Korea prefers to not meddle in the China-US competition.

"It is a challenge for South Korea not to choose sides but I believe Moon is rational and sober on dangers of catering to interests of the US in this regard as South Korea cherishes cooperation opportunity with China in terms of economy and trade," Lü said.

The US's intention to rope in other countries to form a so-called united front in bashing China by playing the ideology and values card is doomed to fail. Fundamental divergences among G7 members and invited countries on how to get along with China will hinder them from making any substantial move, Lü said.