China protests Korean lawmakers’ visit to Taiwan

Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te, right, wave to the people, accompanied by his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen, during his inauguration ceremony outside the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday. Reuters-Yonhap

The Chinese Embassy in Korea lodged a complaint on Tuesday against ruling People Power Party (PPP) Rep. Cho Kyoung-tae and other lawmakers for attending the inauguration ceremony of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te a day earlier, saying that it constitutes a blatant disregard for Beijing’s “One China” policy.In a press statement, a spokesperson for the embassy said, “Rep. Cho and others made an unauthorized visit to the Taiwan region on May 20 and attended the so-called ‘leader’s’ inauguration ceremony, despite China’s strong protests.”The spokesperson said the visit “is a blatant ignorance of the One China policy and the spirit of the joint communique of the diplomatic relations between China and Korea,” which sends the “wrong signal to Taiwanese independence separatists” and “run counter to the strategic cooperative partnership between our two countries.”Korea did not send an official delegation to the inauguraion ceremony, but Lee Eun-ho, representative of the Korean Mission in Taipei, and Rep. Cho, who heads the Korea-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Association, attended the event.

Despite the growing economic partnership with Taiwan, Korea is not reinstating its diplomatic ties that were severed in 1992 when it established relations with China, out of respect for the One China policy. As a result, Seoul has abstained from sending government delegations to Taiwan’s political ceremonies, although individual lawmakers like Rep. Cho and former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Chung Woo-taik have made visits to Taipei.Among them, Cho, recognized as an advocate of Taiwan’s independence, visited Taiwan multiple times, including his attendance at former Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration in 2016.The significance of such delegations has increased notably in recent years, particularly due to the escalating rivalry between the United States and China. The Yoon Suk Yeol administration has displayed a pronounced diplomatic alignment with Washington regarding issues concerning Taiwan. Yoon has reaffirmed in media interviews that Seoul opposes any attempts to alter the status quo by force in reference to tensions in the Taiwan Strait and his statements sparked discontent from 슬롯게이밍 China.

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