September 8, 2023
SEOUL – During a pivotal meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit held in the Indonesian city of Jakarta, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol advocated for sustained diplomacy and collaboration between Korea and China, undeterred by escalating tensions surrounding the North Korean nuclear issue.
“As the North Korea nuclear situation escalates, cooperation among Korea, the US and Japan is poised to intensify,” Yoon informed Li during their discussion, as cited by First Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Tae-hyo in a press conference.
Yoon expressed his hope that China “faithfully fulfills its responsible role” regarding the North Korean nuclear issue and the North Korean issue does not become “an obstacle” to Korea-China relations.
Yoon also urged Li to cooperate in facilitating the prompt organization of the Korea-Japan-China summit on South Korean soil. Li reciprocated with a promise of a positive response.
The three-way summit, held in turn between the three countries, has been on hold since December 2019 due to a range of issues, including disputes over wartime forced labor between Korea and Japan, the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened competition between the US and China. Korea currently holds the chairmanship.
Yoon also expressed optimism for heightened and more active Korea-China exchanges following the Korea-China summit that took place in Bali, Indonesia last November. Additionally, he requested that Li extend his warm regards to Xi.
The meeting between the two leaders followed continued coordination among working-level officials from both nations. This marks the first occasion in 10 months that Yoon has engaged in discussions with one of the top leaders from Beijing, following his previous engagement with President Xi Jinping.