China is making an issue over the joint summit statement the White House released Friday after the first meeting of President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Xing Haiming, the Chinese ambassador to Seoul, told South Korean reporters the statement was obviously aimed at China.
“There is no mention of China, but it’s not like we don’t know [the statement] is aimed at China,” Xing reportedly said.
The White House statement said Washington and Seoul are to “reaffirm support for enhanced cooperation” and “acknowledge the importance of open, transparent, and inclusive regional multilateralism including the Quad.”
Analysts previously have said that the Quad, comprising Australia, Japan, India and the United States, addresses strategic competition with China.
The joint statement also mentioned that Biden and Moon “emphasize the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned world leaders against bringing up Taiwan.
The Taiwan issue is purely an internal affair of China, Zhao said Monday. Any “foreign interference” is unacceptable, he added.
Zhao also said “relevant countries should be careful in speech and deed on the issue of Taiwan, and not play with fire.”
South Korean government officials suggested the Chinese response to the joint statement was relatively muted.
A senior presidential Blue House official told reporters Monday that compared to China’s reaction after the U.S.-Japan summit in April, the backlash has been restrained, Yonhap reported.
The Blue House official also reportedly said that the summit marked the first time Washington and Seoul mentioned Taiwan-related matters in a joint statement.
“This reflects the basic position that regional stability is important to us while taking into account the uniqueness of the bilateral [U.S.-Korea] relationship,” the South Korean official said.
The source also said China understands the complexities of international relations and that Seoul and Beijing are in communication after the summit.