May 27, 2019 10:08
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called off plans to visit Korea in June as a trade war with the U.S. intensifies. The government here had hoped that Xi would visit either before or after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29.
A diplomatic source in Seoul said Friday, "China feels there is very little to gain from a visit to Seoul for the time being."
The tides changed abruptly after the Trump administration cut off all trade with Huawei and pressured allies to join its boycott of the Chinese electronics and telecom giant. "China wants to focus all its efforts on dealing with the U.S. for now," the source said.
Beijing also took stalled denuclearization talks with North Korea into account, and since Xi will not be visiting the North he would consider it a breach of protocol to visit the South, according to Shin Jung-seung, South Korea's former ambassador to China.
But the move could also be seen as a warning to South Korea against siding with the U.S. in the trade war and other points of contention.
Seoul has refrained from commenting on China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and merely urged all sides to seek a "peaceful solution." It has also told the U.S. that it cannot interfere in private businesses' dealings with Huawei.
The cancellation throws a spanner in the works of President Moon Jae-in's hopes to kick-start the stalled nuclear talks through summits with the U.S. and China.
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