- by GI Magazine
- Sep 29, 2022
SEOUL, Sept 16, 12:35 P m (Reuters) - China's top legislator, Li Zhanshu, called on Friday for more cooperation with South Korea on cutting-edge technologies and supply chain issues. Li, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, was speaking in Seoul after meeting his South Korean counterpart, parliament speaker Kim Jin-pyo.
Li was also scheduled to meet with business leaders and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is seeking to maintain economic ties with Beijing while strengthening his country's relationship with the United States. "We support both sides deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, accelerating the second-phase negotiations for the free trade agreement, boosting cooperation in the high-tech sector, and smoothly and stably managing the supply and industrial chains to achieve high-quality development," Li said at a joint news conference with Kim, speaking through a translator.
The two sides agreed "to manage and handle sensitive issues under the spirit of respecting each other's core interests and issues of important interest," Li said, without elaborating. Beijing has been critical of South Korea hosting a U.S. anti-missile battery, and Seoul has faced increasing pressure from Washington to speak up on issues such as Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.
Kim said he also supported accelerating trade talks, and called on China to play a constructive role in peace in the region. "Yoon is clearly trying to stabilise Korea's relations with China - but not at the expense of its relationship with the United States," said Go Myong-Hyun, of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.
"The continued visits by high-ranking Chinese officials indicate that China, too, doesn't want to allow its relations with Seoul to deteriorate further," he added. Li's visit comes amid an uproar in South Korea over the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, recently signed by President Joe Biden.
South Korea says the act, which excludes electric vehicles (EVs) assembled outside of North America from tax credits in the United States, violates the spirit of the countries' economic and security alliance, which Biden had pledged to strengthen.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyundong in Washington on Thursday to discuss a range of bilateral issues, including forming a "consultative mechanism" to engage with Seoul as the Inflation Reduction Act is implemented, the State Department said in a statement.