Seoul, Nov 26 (efe-epa).- China’s foreign minister on Thursday highlighted the “robustness” and “vitality” of ties between Beijing and Seoul during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, which comes amid growing tension between the Asian giant and South Korea’s main ally, the United States.
“Having endured the ordeal of COVID-19, the bilateral relations are now showing robustness and the appearance of greater vitality,” Wang Yi said in Seoul at the beginning of the meeting with South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha.
“My visit to South Korea when the COVID-19 situation has yet to end is intended to show the importance we attach to China-South Korea relations through actual action,” Wang added, according to Yonhap news agency.
It is believed Wang’s three-day visit seeks rapprochement with Seoul after the US presidential election victory of Joe Biden. The president-elect plans to strengthen regional alliances – with some, such as the case of South Korea, damaged by Trump’s mandate – in order to strengthen Washington’s position in the region with regards to Beijing.
When asked about analysts framing his visit as rivalry with Washington, Wang said that “the US is not the only country in the world” and that China and South Korea are “independent countries.”
He said South Korea and China are working together to “contribute to safeguarding regional peace and stability, promoting regional economic integration and complementing the global governance system.”
“Ahead of the 30th anniversary in 2022 of the establishment of bilateral ties, I hope for an exchange of opinions on further fleshing out the strategic partnership between the two countries,” Wang added.
Among the topics the pair were expected to discuss was Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea, which was postponed due to the pandemic.
Wang assured local media after the meeting that the visit will take place when the “conditions are ripe.” However, South Korea on Thursday recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in eight months, suggesting that Xi’s trip will be further delayed.
South Korea is one of the countries in the region that maintains good relations with China, its first commercial partner, and which has been harmed by the clashes between Beijing and Washington, its main strategic and military partner and second in trade.
Wang, who last visited Seoul in December last year, is also scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to South Korean President Moon Jae-in Thursday before flying back to Beijing on Friday. EFE-EPA