Seoul's FM says no mention of China's human rights issue in Seoul-Washington joint statement due to 'special relationship'
Updated: 2021-05-25 16:51:25 KST
Regarding the South Korea-U.S. leaders' joint statement, Seoul's foreign minister says there was no mention of China's human rights issues because of South Korea's "special relationship" with China.
Foreign minister Chung Eui-yong was speaking at Tuesday's virtual joint government briefing on President Moon Jae-in's working visit to the U.S.
"Our government has been refraining from mentioning in detail internal issues in China in light of a special relationship between South Korea and China. This stance has been reflected in the joint statement."
The joint statement also included "stability in the Taiwan Strait", which Chung said is a concern of all countries in the region for regional peace.
Earlier, China had criticized the statement for mentioning the Taiwan issue, saying it will not tolerate any "external interference" on its "internal affairs."
South Korea's trade minister said at the joint briefing that Seoul will continue to expand its economic ties with Beijing, adding the economic issues discussed at the summit do not exclude any specific country.
On Tuesday, the Blue House policy chief said in a radio interview that he does not see China retaliating economically again following the Seoul-Washington summit.
China launched an economic retaliation a few years ago to protest against South Korea's decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile defense system, known as THAAD.
Regarding the statement mentioning the human rights issue in North Korea, deemed by the regime to be a sensitive issue, the minister said Seoul and Washington were trying to focus on improving the human rights situation in the North.
He added they also agreed on the term denuclearization of "the Korean Peninsula" in the statement, instead of "North Korea."
Some have been saying that the terminology matters in that it may or may not leave room for the U.S. keeping South Korea under its nuclear umbrella.
Chung added he sees no big difference between terminology used by the two Koreas.
Chung said he expects North Korea-U.S. talks to resume soon, adding the summit has built momentum for the Korean Peace Process.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.