December 13, 2022
SEOUL – South Korea asked China to step up efforts to bring North Korea back to denuclearization talks at a videoconference Monday held between their respective foreign ministers, as the two countries seek to better ties that have been strained by their divergent views on Pyongyang and the escalating US-China rivalry.
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin told his counterpart Wang Yi that North Korea’s return to dialogue is in their “shared interest,” urging Beijing to actively back Seoul’s outreach for talks amid the unprecedented frequency of Pyongyang’s missile tests this year. Wang told Park that China will play a “constructive role” without elaborating, according to a statement released by Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
The virtual meeting came as nuclear envoys from South Korea, the US and Japan are expected to discuss North Korea this week in Jakarta, Indonesia. The three-way alliance — which last met in Tokyo in September and vowed “stern measures” in response to Pyongyang’s provocations — has yet to see tangible progress on nuclear negotiations.
Meanwhile, Park and Wang also discussed enhancing cooperation on global issues, including the economic situation and climate change. Expanding communication to deal with supply chain disruptions was another topic, the statement said, though it did not detail concrete steps to make that happen.
The statement did not mention South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategy — the latest piece of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s foreign policy that underscores a rules-based order and resists unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force. Critics have labeled the plan anti-China, citing the US strategy built on almost identical causes that seek to contain China. Yoon’s office maintains the strategy does not corner any country.