Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up a three-day visit to South Korea last Friday during which he met with President Moon Jae-in, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa and ruling party lawmakers.
There’s been speculation that Beijing would use his trip to try to bring Seoul to its side as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden envisions tightening America’s alliance networks to reassert its leadership.
Keen attention was also drawn to whether Wang’s visit would expedite efforts to arrange a visit to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping possibly by the year’s end.
For more about Wang Yi’s visit to Seoul and its implications our focus for our News In-depth tonight Associate Professor of International Politics, Mason Richey, of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. is here with us.

Wang seems to have made his requests clear during this three-day stay.
He called for Seoul to participate in Beijing’s “global data security initiative,” which was unveiled earlier this year, to set its own global standards on data security and counter the U.S. effort to persuade like-minded countries to ringfence their networks from Chinese technology.
This comes as next-generation 5G networks and the IT sector move to the forefront of the Sino-U.S. rivalry.
Chinese foreign ministry said Seoul will give positive consideration to joining Beijing’s initiative, and Seoul’s foreign ministry said it’s considering it in its own way.
The different tone, the nuances between the two what do they imply?

Also, the 10-point achievements or agreements announced by the Chinese foreign ministry right after the bilateral talks include cooperation in trade.
This supposedly includes Seoul’s willingness to participate in China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative and the pursuit of a trilateral free trade agreement with Japan.
Do you see it as Beijing moving to neutralize Washington’s efforts to exclude China as seen in the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact in swaying Southeast Asia over to its side in challenge to the U.S.?

It’s a rule of thumb that normally if you want to close a deal or have some sort of understanding between two parties you should at least appear as if you’re giving something in return.
But Wang was very reserved about Seoul’s request that China stop its ban on importing Korean pop culture content which was put in place about three years ago in response to Seoul’s deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD.
Do you think the two sides can resolve this matter in the near future perhaps with Xi’s visit to Korea?

Wang also had little to say when Seoul clearly asked for Beijing to play a bigger role in bringing Pyeongyang closer to denuclearization, and for it to state its support for the Korea peace process.
Wang said China will continue to play a constructive role as an important neighbor.
Does this imply that China will not step up in this regard amid a severance of inter-Korean ties?

One reporter asked directly about the Sino -U.S. rivalry to which Wang said that the U.S. is not the only country in this world, which consists of more than 190 independent countries including South Korea.
In a tweet that coincided with Wang’s trip, the U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesperson, Cale Brown said that China’s Communist Party propaganda “can’t bury the truth” and accused party leaders of having “misled their own people about the Korean War to avoid accountability.”
Should we see this as an indirect warning to China which is trying to cement ties with South Korea?

Probably all of these contentious issues could be resolved by the time Chinese President Xi Jinping visits South Korea.
Wang said Xi’s trip will take place “as soon as conditions are ripe.” signaling that Chinese leader can come here when the COVID-19 pandemic levels off.
How and when do you think Xi’s visit to South Korea will take place other than the COVID-19 factor and can we expect some progress to be made on some of the issues that we’ve discussed earlier?

Turning to Washington, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is naming his economy team this week.
On that front, he’s expected to nominate Neera Tanden as director of the influential Office of Mangement and Budget.
Tanden is chief executive of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, and is an immigrant from India.
He’s also going to appoint Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse , an African-American, as chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers. Biden earlier named economist Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary.
Should we expect expanded government spending to help the economy recover from the pandemic?

Biden’s White House press secretary will be Jennifer Psaki, a veteran Democratic spokesperson. It’ll mark the first time for all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message to be female. Another is Kate Bedingfield, a longtime Biden aide during his campaign. She’ll serve as the communications director at the White House.
Some say these choices reflect Biden’s determination to bring in a more diverse leadership team do you think the move also reflect the reality that women powered Biden’s victory to the White House?

Alright. That was Mason Richey, Associate Professor of International Politics at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, thank you for speaking with us. We appreciate it.

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