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Mainland China’s talks with South Korea hinge on Seoul honouring Taiwan inauguration promise

A version of this article has also been published by The Korea Times in partnership with the South China Morning Post.

Premier Li Qiang would attend trilateral talks with South Korea and Japan at the end of the month, according to a source with connections to top Chinese officials.

But separate bilateral discussions between China and South Korea during the summit hinge on whether Seoul would honour its commitment not to send a delegation to Monday’s inauguration of Taiwan’s incoming president, Lai Ching-te, said Woo Su-keun, chairman of the Seoul-based Korea-China Global Association.

“If, on May 20, China rests assured after seeing that Korea does not send envoys to Taiwan to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new president as they had indicated, China would give a nod to a separate bilateral summit,” said Woo.

Woo said the terms were discussed during private talks with high-ranking Chinese officials from the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council last month.

“In other words, the current state of Sino-Korean relations hinges entirely on Korea’s initiative,” Woo added.

An exact date for the summit has yet to be disclosed, but media reports have said the talks could take place on May 26 and 27.

President Yoon Suk-yeol has already agreed that South Korea would not dispatch a delegation to next week’s inauguration, with only representatives from the Korean Mission in Taipei set to participate, Woo said.

Lawmakers from the National Assembly may choose to attend, which is beyond the control of the president, Woo added.


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