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(4th LD) Wang decries idea of S. Korea's inclusion in Five Eyes alliance as 'outdated' Cold War byproduct

All News 17:10 September 15, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout; TRIMS)
By Song Sang-ho and Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday decried the idea of expanding the U.S.-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance to include South Korea as an "outdated" byproduct of the Cold War era.

Wang made the remarks after his talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul, as a U.S. House bill calls on the administration of President Joe Biden to consider expanding the alliance consisting of the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

The legislative move came as Washington seeks to rally its allies and partners to counter Beijing's growing assertiveness, with its recent exit from Afghanistan likely to free up resources to renew the focus on the intensifying Sino-U.S. competition.

"I think that is utterly a byproduct of the Cold War era. And that is already outdated," Wang told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Sept. 15, 2021. (Yonhap)

During the talks with Chung, Wang called on South Korea to work together to strengthen a shared "sense of community" in the face of a "major shift" in the international landscape, calling the two countries "partners that can't part ways."

"China and South Korea are close neighbors that cannot relocate themselves and partners that can't part ways with each other," he said in his opening remarks.

Wang added the two countries have to realize "better, swift, stable, full-fledged and steady" development of bilateral relations by further strengthening the sense of community, expanding common interests and finding the potential for cooperation.

Noting progress in bilateral relations in trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges since the establishment of bilateral ties in 1992, Wang said the two countries have played a role as a "guardian of peace and stability and facilitator for development and prosperity."

Wednesday's meeting came as Seoul hopes Beijing would continue to play a constructive role in promoting stability on the peninsula, following the North's recent missile tests and signs of the country resuming the operation of a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor.

Overshadowing Seoul's peace drive, the recalcitrant regime fired off two ballistic missiles into the East Sea, further escalating tensions following its weekend test-firings of a new type of cruise missile.

Chung and Wang discussed the latest provocation and mentioned that the military action would not be helpful for inter-Korean relations, a Seoul official said.

Wang, in particular, noted the need for concerned countries to exercise restraint to ensure a unilateral military step will not lead to a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the peninsula, the official said.

Sharing the urgency of the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, Chung and Wang agreed to closely cooperate for an early resumption of the stalled process for lasting peace with the North.

They, in particular, agreed to actively explore viable measures for engagement with the North, including humanitarian support, the official said.

The two ministers reaffirmed their shared understanding that their countries will seek to realize a visit to Seoul by Chinese President Xi Jinping as soon as conditions are met, such as the stabilization of the COVID-19 situation.

Chung also asked for China's cooperation to ensure the two countries can maintain smooth exchanges of cultural content, such as games, movies and Korean music, amid a lingering sense that China's perceived curbs on Korean cultural industries have continued since Seoul's 2016 decision to host a U.S. anti-missile system.

Later in the day, Wang paid a courtesy call on President Moon Jae-in.

Moon expressed hope that China will continue to back Korea's efforts to promote peace with North Korea.

After a luncheon with Chung, Wang is set to leave Korea later in the day.

Chung and Wang last held their face-to-face talks in the Chinese city of Xiamen in April. Wang last visited Seoul in November last year.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (R) and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, pose for a photo before their talks at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Sept. 15, 2021. (Yonhap)

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(END)

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