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HomeNewsSouth Korea’s president did not meet Nancy Pelosi on account of staycation

South Korea’s president did not meet Nancy Pelosi on account of staycation

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SEOUL — Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi met leaders of Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan in her carefully watched tour this week — however not the South Korean president. The official motive: He was on a staycation.

Simply earlier than Pelosi (D-Calif.) arrived late Wednesday, President Yoon Suk-yeol attended a theater efficiency in Seoul and socialized at dinner and drinks with the actors. On Thursday, as Pelosi met with senior South Korean lawmakers, these photographs went viral on social media.

Yoon’s determination despatched South Korea’s presidential workplace scrambling to downplay accusations that he shunned a gathering with Pelosi in a bid to placate China, as South Korea navigates the rising competitors between its largest buying and selling associate and the US, its largest safety ally.

The political novice, who received the presidency with the narrowest margin ever in South Korea, faces plummeting approval rankings lower than three months after taking workplace. He has vowed to make his nation a “international pivotal state” and a geopolitical drive.

However his obvious absence on the worldwide stage fired up critics, who accused the conservative South Korean president of intentionally shunning Pelosi out of issues about retaliation from Beijing. Her controversial go to to Taiwan escalated tensions between the self-governing island and Beijing.

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Yoon’s workplace stated he scrapped his summer season journey plans and opted for a Seoul staycation to plan for future political actions and relaxation at house.

Yoon’s spokesman, Choi Younger-bum, stated the president’s summer season vacation was deliberate forward of Pelosi’s Asia journey and that Yoon attended the theater efficiency earlier than Pelosi’s aircraft arrived. In line with Choi, Yoon stated he was not obtainable to satisfy Pelosi, who flew into South Korea that night.

“I’ve obtained questions on whether or not the president prevented assembly with the Home speaker as a result of he was cautious of China,” Choi stated. “All this stuff are determined primarily based on an intensive consideration of our nation’s nationwide curiosity.”

He additionally dismissed a reporter’s query suggesting that Yoon’s unavailability signaled a shift in Seoul’s alignment amid the U.S.-China rivalry, calling the query an “exaggeration.”

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Instead of an in-person assembly, the South Korean president and Pelosi spoke by telephone late Thursday about strengthening the bilateral alliance and cooperating on regional safety points, based on a readout from Yoon’s workplace.

Yoon, who took workplace in Could, pledged to “rebuild” the U.S.-South Korean alliance, which he stated deteriorated beneath outgoing liberal president Moon Jae-in. The Moon administration sought to work with allies of North Korea, notably China, to assist dealer a peace take care of Pyongyang.

Whereas Yoon vowed a stronger political stance on Beijing, South Korea nonetheless walks a tremendous line. South Korea’s right-leaning Chosun Ilbo newspaper ran an editorial titled, “Yoon’s avoidance of Pelosi assembly could ship mistaken alerts to the U.S. and China.” The paper warned the South Korean authorities {that a} “submissive angle” towards China can alter geopolitical relationships.

Pelosi is scheduled to fly to Japan late Thursday after visiting the closely fortified demilitarized zone between South and North Korea. Of their telephone dialog, Yoon known as her go to to the border space “an indication of a powerful deterrence in opposition to North Korea,” his presidential workplace stated.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled to satisfy with Pelosi on Friday on the ultimate cease of her journey.

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