Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will make a two-day visit to Busan from Friday to meet with Suh Hoon, President Moon Jae-in’s Director of National Security Office. It can be viewed that both South Korea and China have a strong will to realize Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea within the year since the two countries are proceeding with high-level diplomacy amid the spread of COVID-19.
This is Yang’s first visit to Busan in 25 months since he last made a closed-door visit to the city in July 2018. It is also the first visit to South Korea by a top Chinese official this year after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The key agenda of the meeting is expected to be President Xi’s visit to South Korea. Other items on the agenda include South Korea-China-Japan trilateral summit expected in November and plans to expand exchange of high-level visits between the two countries following the mitigation of COVID-19.
Those in and outside the government say Director Yang’s visit amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China and a resurgence of COVID-19 in South Korea will send a strong message to Seoul that it should not participate in Washington’s attempt to contain China’s rise. In a situation where Washington is calling on Seoul to participate in the “anti-China front,” China is likely to make various demands to South Korea in order to prevent the latter’s participation. The U.S. lifted restrictions on South Korea’s use of solid fuels in rockets by revising missile guidelines last month and has agreed to extend the ballistic missile range. Seoul is known to believe that Washington intends to contain China through South Korea.
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