In a recent development highlighting the ongoing diplomatic tensions between China and South Korea, Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong expressed his discontent with Seoul's response to a meeting between Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming and a South Korean opposition leader. In a tit-for-tat move, Nong lodged a complaint with South Korea's ambassador to China, mirroring the summoning of Beijing's envoy to South Korea last week.
Nong emphasized that it was within Ambassador Xing's responsibilities to engage with various individuals in South Korea and expressed hope that Seoul would reflect on the bilateral relationship and collaborate with China to foster healthy and stable ties. This complaint follows a series of remarks made by Ambassador Xing, accusing the South Korean government of favoring the United States and causing harm to its relations with China.
The strained relations between China and South Korea occur within the larger context of intensifying competition for global influence between Washington and Beijing. South Korea, highly reliant on exports of technology products such as computer memory chips, has found itself navigating a delicate balance between its long-standing military ally, the United States, and its largest buyer of goods, China.
South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin admonished Ambassador Xing for his "senseless and provocative" comments made during a meeting with the South Korean Democratic Party leader, Lee Jae-myung, a prominent rival of conservative President Yoon Suk Yeo. Xing's accusations placed blame on South Korea for the challenging aspects of the bilateral relationship, including the growing trade deficit, which he attributed to perceived efforts by South Korean companies to reduce dependence on China.
Seoul swiftly responded by accusing Ambassador Xing of breaching diplomatic protocols and interfering in the country's domestic politics. The dispute underscores the complexities South Korea faces in managing its relationships with the United States and China, given their competing interests and influence.
(With AP Inputs)