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Pelosi's visit pain in the neck for Seoul

China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-08 08:14

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. [Photo/Agencies]

Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol snubbed United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who visited the country last week. Yoon was the only leader who did not meet with Pelosi during the latter's high-stakes yet troublemaking Asia trip to Singapore, Malaysia, the ROK, Japan and China's Taiwan island.

"President Yoon's vacation schedule and Speaker Pelosi's visit to the Republic of Korea overlapped, and we did not rearrange our schedule," his office said in a statement.

Being the first sitting House speaker to visit the ROK in about 20 years, Pelosi did not get a chance to meet with the country's foreign minister either, who went to Cambodia to attend a foreign ministers' forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

In her last trip to the country in 2015, when she was not the House speaker, Pelosi met with both the ROK president and foreign minister.

In fact, Pelosi's visit was a diplomatic burden for Seoul.

Given the mischief-making purpose of her trip, it is no wonder her reception was perfunctory.

Seoul hopes to maintain good relations with Beijing and ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and Pelosi was not intent on doing either.

If the tension between the US and China over the Taiwan question continues to escalate, the pressure on the ROK to "choose sides" may further increase, and it would become more difficult to find a solution to the Korean Peninsula issue. Under such circumstances, it is natural that Seoul should be cautious about Pelosi's visit.

So the way that Seoul treated Pelosi's visit was not only reasonable but also responsible as it was conducive to maintaining regional stability.

That is also in line with its refusal to take part in a chip coalition that Washington is seeking to form to exclude China.

The prosperity and security of the ROK do not hinge on the US, but its relations with its neighbors.

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