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Chinese foreign minister makes first official visit to Seoul

Chinese foreign minister makes first official visit to Seoul

Posted May. 26, 2014 04:12,   


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will make an official visit to South Korea at the invitation of Seoul’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se on Monday. It is Wang’s first visit to Seoul since the inauguration of the Park Geun-hye administration. Analysts say that the visit is significant in that China’s top diplomat is visiting South Korea before its ally North Korea.

The main purpose of Wang’s visit to Seoul is coordination of schedule and agenda for President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea, which will take place soon. Amid mounting threat of provocations by Pyongyang including artillery shelling in the Yellow Sea in recent months, it is probable that Wang could convey a message suggesting "China is opposed to rising tension on the Korean Peninsula."

Diplomatic sources said, “The fact that the Chinese foreign minister is visiting South Korea before North Korea in itself will constitute a clear message of warning to the North.”

Wang will hold Seoul-Beijing diplomatic talks with Yun at 3 p.m. on Monday, and attend a dinner hosted by the South Korean foreign minister at the latter’s residence. The two sides have agreed that there will be no press conference and no joint statement. On Tuesday, Wang will pay a courtesy visit to President Park Geun-hye, and attend an event hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Seoul before departure.

Having been rebuked by Beijing, North Korea is moving to counter Beijing’s move by strengthening diplomacy with third party countries, and other neighboring states. North Korea will hold director general-level talks with Japan in Sweden on Monday, when the South Korea-China talks take place. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong departed Pyongyang on Saturday for his first overseas tour since his inauguration in April. The North’s Korean Central New Agency reported on the day that Ri left Pyongyang with a delegation to attend a conference of Non-Aligned Countries, which will take place in Algeria.

The North also sought to make a 1.5 track (half government and half civilian) contact, in which North Korean officials meet with former U.S. officials, in Mongolia on Friday through Sunday. However, sources say although the two sides agreed to send six people each, some participants failed to arrive in Mongolia, and the mood at the meeting was not amicable.