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(LEAD) Gov't holds diplomatic strategy meeting on growing U.S.-China tensions

All News 18:01 July 28, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES story as meeting ended; REPLACES photos)
By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Tuesday that South Korea should strengthen its alliance with the United States in the security sector and seek openness and inclusiveness in the economic fields as part of efforts to cope with the growing rivalry between the U.S. and China.

Kang made the remark after a meeting of the private-public Strategic Coordination Meeting on Foreign Affairs that was launched last year to map out Seoul's position in the face of the dispute between the two superpowers deeply tied to South Korea's security and economy.

"Even little frictions can escalate into fierce conflict. It appears more difficult to find a middle ground and seek cooperation," she said during the session. "Holding our balance and harmonizing various and often contradicting elements is vital under these changing circumstances."

The meeting came at a time when tensions between Washington and Beijing have escalated after they closed a consulate in each other's country, putting Seoul in a difficult position as it tries to seek a balance between the two sides to maintain good relationships with both.

As a way to better respond to the growing tensions, Kang proposed a set of principles in four areas: security, economy, science and technology, and values and norms.

For the security realm, she called for expanding Seoul's constructive role in strengthening the regional stability through the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

In the economy and trade fields, the government should enhance its principles of fairness, reciprocity, transparency and inclusiveness, Kang said. As for science and technology, the government will work to strengthen technological security, she said.

She also called for efforts to promote universal values.

Washington has increasingly been explicit in its call for allies, including Seoul, to join its China-bashing campaign, accusing Beijing of lacking transparency and undermining democratic values.

More than 50 government officials attended Tuesday's session, including those from related ministries and the presidential National Security Office, as well as academic experts.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks during the 3rd Strategic Coordination Meeting on Foreign Affairs at the ministry in Seoul on July 28, 2020. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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