South Korea held strategic talks with China on Thursday to discuss their bilateral relations after Seoul rescinded its conference invitation to a Taiwanese minister last week due to “cross-strait issues.”
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun said via Twitter that he had discussed online with his Chinese counterpart Le Yucheng the two countries’ bilateral relationship, regional stability, and peace efforts for the Korean Peninsula.
“In 2022, our two nations will celebrate 30 [years] anniversary of diplomatic normalization,” he said.
The two ministers also spoke on Beijing’s preparations to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, in which Choi expressed Seoul’s hope for Beijing’s success in hosting the event but made no mention of South Korea’s delegation to the event, reported state media Yonhap News Agency.
The 2022 Winter Olympics has been hit by diplomatic boycotts from several Western countries, including the United States, Australia, the UK, Canada, Lithuania, and New Zealand, in protest against the Chinese regime’s ongoing human rights abuses, especially in the Xinjiang region. All countries participating in the boycott will allow their athletes to compete in the games.
President Moon Jae-in on Dec. 13 has said that South Korea will not participate in the diplomatic boycott of the games, citing a need for China’s help to “enable denuclearization” of North Korea on the peninsula.
Both Choi and Le have agreed on the need to protect regional stability and aimed to open discussions with North Korea regarding the denuclearization issue.
The discussion between China and South Korea comes on the heels of Taiwan’s protest against South Korea’s cancelation of its invitation for Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang to speak virtually at a conference last week in Seoul.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou claimed that Seoul had rescinded its invitation sent in September just hours before the event started due to “various aspects of cross-strait issues,” reported Taipei Times.
The foreign ministry called the last-minute cancelation by South Korea “rude” and summoned the South Korean acting representative to Taipei to convey Taiwan’s strong dissatisfaction.
In response, a South Korean government official explained the cancelation was made in accordance with the country’s diplomatic principles “rather than being a measure mindful of China,” reported the Yonhap News Agency.
“The canceled invitation of Minister Tang was decided after a comprehensive review of relevant circumstances,” the official told reporters, without elaborating further on the reasons behind the decision.
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, although Beijing claims the democratically ruled island as part of its territory and has threatened to bring the island under its control by force if necessary.