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China Expressed Opposition: No More Talks for Extension of Garlic Safeguard

China Expressed Opposition: No More Talks for Extension of Garlic Safeguard

Posted July. 21, 2002 21:56,   


China expressed its opposition to the public opinion in Korea that the safeguard against Chinese garlic should be extended. Thus, a delicate tension is building up between Korea and China. If Korea strongly urges for the extension of the safeguard to satisfy the public, it could lead even to diplomatic disputes between the two countries. Even though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) explained, “Postponing the committee meeting between Korean and China is to accommodate the schedules, and has nothing to do with the Garlic Scandal,” the reason for the postponement is not clear.

On 20th, the Chinese Embassy in Korea sent Economic Representative Lee in protest to the MFAC and delivered the Chinese position against the talks for extending the safeguard.

The chief of Regional Commerce Park Sang-ki confirmed, “Lee visited and discussed the garlic matter for 20 minutes. Lee delivered the Chinese position that the terms of the 2000 agreement of garlic should be fully implemented.”

Park said, “But we have not discussed the measures or retaliations China might take in response to the building atmosphere within Korea for modifying the terms of the agreement. I just told him that we would heed the Chinese position.”

In the meanwhile, the business leaders and consumer agencies are refraining from taking a position on this matter in order not to offend the farmers. But they cautioned, “We could be damaged more, sticking to garlic.”

One business leader said, “During the garlic talks two years ago, we faced a retaliation worth 5 billion dollar for keeping the 15 million dollar garlic market. But we still face the same problem. It would be realistic and wise to keep the terms of the Garlic Agreement, and compensate for the farmers’ damage in other fashion.”

Ja-Ryong Koo bonhong@donga.com