China complains to South Korean ambassador in tit-for-tat move after Seoul summoned Beijing’s envoy

AP , Sunday 11 Jun 2023

A Chinese official lodged a complaint with South Korea’s ambassador to China, in a tit-for-tat move after Beijing’s envoy to South Korea was summoned last week over his comments accusing Seoul of tilting toward the United States.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming
File Photo: Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming, right, shakes hands with South Korea s main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung before their dinner meeting at the Chinese ambassador s residence in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 8, 2023. China s Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong expressed dissatisfaction with Seoul s response to last week s meeting between Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming and a South Korean opposition leader, according to a statement from China s Foreign Ministry on Sunday, June 11, 2023. AP

 

Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong expressed dissatisfaction with Seoul’s response to last week’s meeting between Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming and a South Korean opposition leader, according to a statement Sunday from China’s Foreign Ministry.

Nong said it was Xing’s duty to meet with different people in South Korea and he hoped Seoul would reflect on the relationship between the two countries and work with China to promote healthy and stable ties, the statement added.

The diplomatic row between China and South Korea comes amid fierce competition between Washington and Beijing for global influence.

South Korea, whose economy depends greatly on exports of computer memory chips and other technology products, has struggled to strike a balance between the United States, its decades-long military ally, and China, the biggest buyer of its goods.

On Friday, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin warned Xing over his “senseless and provocative” remarks made during a meeting with South Korean Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, a key rival of conservative President Yoon Suk Yeo.

In the meeting last week, Xing accused Yoon’s government of leaning excessively toward Seoul’s treaty ally, the U.S., and damaging its relations with China.

Xing said South Korea was entirely to blame for the “many difficulties” in bilateral relations, citing its growing trade deficit with China, which he attributed to “de-Chinaization” efforts, apparently referring to actions by South Korean companies to shift their supply chains away from China.

His comments quickly drew ire from Seoul, which accused Xing of violating diplomatic protocols and interfering with South Korean domestic politics.

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