Blinken speaks with South Korean foreign minister ahead of China visit

Seoul, Jun 17 (EFE).- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday held a telephone conversation with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, shortly before leaving for an important visit to China.

The two diplomatic heads discussed several issues, from bilateral ties to relationship with China, as well as North Korea’s weapons program, according to a statement by the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

Blinken said the US supports South Korea’s efforts to improve its ties with China in a “healthy and mature” way based on mutual respect, and planned to share the results of his visit to China with Seoul, according to the ministry.

Seoul and Beijing have experienced a deterioration of ties in recent months exacerbated by certain remarks made by the Chinese ambassador to South Korea, Xing Haiming.

Xing warned Seoul about getting too close to Washington, stating that those who “bet on China’s loss” in its rivalry with the U.S. “will definitely regret it.”

This led him to being summoned by the South Korean Foreign Ministry, which conveyed to him a “severe admonition” over his comments and described them as “unreasonable and provocative.”

In recent years, the ties between the two countries have been affected by Beijing’s economic boycott of Seoul in 2016 in retaliation for the deployment of a US anti-missile system on South Korean soil.

Other friction points include the management of the pandemic and the coming to power in Seoul of the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, who has strengthened ties with Washington and promised a more equal relationship with China.

On his part, Minister Park told Blinken that they supported the US. efforts with respect to China and ahead of what will be the first visit by a US diplomatic head to Beijing in five years.

During the phone conversation, Park and Blinken also agreed to condemn North Korea’s “provocations” and underlined that denuclearization of the Kim Jong-un regime would benefit the international community, including China. EFE


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