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Vice FM expects China to 'highly assess' S. Korea for not mentioning Beijing in Moon-Biden statement

All News 15:28 May 24, 2021

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun said Monday he believes China will think highly of the fact that a joint statement issued after last week's summit between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden made no mention of China.

The statement, issued after the summit Friday (Washington time), stressed "the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," the first time the Taiwan issue has been included in a joint summit statement between Seoul and Washington.

Still, the document included no mention of China.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and considers treating the country independently as a political interference.

"The fact is that, it's true that Taiwan, or the so-called cross-straits issue, was mentioned for the first time in the leaders' statement produced by South Korea and the United States," Choi said in the interview with the local radio station TBS.

"But the second fact is that we did not specify China, and at the end of the day, it contains phrases in generalities that the regional peace and stability is important. From China's standpoint, they will highly assess the point that the Republic of Korea did not specify China," he said.

Choi compared the Moon-Biden statement with that issued between Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at their summit last month, in which they openly reaffirmed their united front against China's assertiveness.

On concern that Beijing could be displeased about the agreement with Washington to lift restrictions on Seoul's missile development, Choi said that China "was not factored in" when making the decision.

"If (Beijing) was uncomfortable, it should have already been uncomfortable about the missile development long before," Choi said.

Regarding the vaccine partnership agreed upon with the U.S. at the summit, Choi described it as "a vaccine alliance that goes beyond the traditional security alliance," that was "very meaningful" in that it presented "a path for an alliance that produces public goods."

First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Mexico City, Mexico, on April 25, 2021, in this photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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