Chinese FM urges S.Korea to refrain from provoking conflicts as Seoul may move to join Quad
Published: Mar 08, 2023 10:54 PM Updated: Mar 08, 2023 10:50 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning

Responding to South Korea planning to "proactively accelerate" its participation in defense pact Quad, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the countries concerned should do more that is conducive to regional peace and enhancing mutual trust, rather than provoking confrontation and engaging in small cliques.

"We have always believed that cooperation among countries should be in line with the trend of the times of peaceful development, and should not engage in closed and exclusive small circles," spokesperson Mao Ning said at the Ministry's Wednesday press briefing.

South Korea is looking to join the Quad working group at an accelerated pace, according to a Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday, citing a senior Seoul official.

While it has not yet formally joined the US-led bloc which involves Australia, India and Japan, "the Yoon Suk-yeol administration has been emphasizing its importance in terms of its Indo-Pacific strategy," the official told Yonhap.

Chinese experts warned that the Yoon administration is gradually losing its political independence by tying itself tighter to the US' chariot.

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Yoon will visit the US on April 26 for a summit with President Joe Biden to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their alliance, AP reported.

The US has been working to deepen its relationship with two of its closest allies in the Indo-Pacific "as a counterbalance to China's rising influence." According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, US-South Korea ties are "critical to advancing peace, stability and prosperity for our two countries, the Indo-Pacific, and around the world," and have reached "unprecedented heights."

The upcoming summit will be Yoon's third bilateral meeting with Biden, and the first state visit by a South Korean leader to the US in 12 years.

Yoon is also planning a trip to Japan in mid-March Japan to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, media reported, following Yoon's controversial speech delivered on the 104th anniversary of the country's March 1 Independence Movement, in which he said that "Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values."

Lü Chao, an expert on the Korean Peninsula at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the path of a three-way military alliance among the US, Japan and South Korea is already taking shape, "and it is a rather dangerous path."

The move indicates that the South Korean government is losing its independence to Washington, and it would be very dangerous for the country's security and economy, as well as for regional peace and stability.

The expert warned countries in the Indo-Pacific region to be on high alert for any possible collusion activities from the alliance.