Vice FM cautions against ‘limiting options’ amid U.S.-China rivalry

SEOUL, Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun cautioned Thursday against limiting South Korea’s foreign policy options due to an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry, stressing that Seoul stay on course to maximize national interests despite the “challenging” global environment.
Choi’s remarks during a foreign policy forum came amid growing concerns that the increasingly acrimonious competition between Washington and Beijing would constrain maneuvering room for South Korea’s diplomacy going forward.
“Recently, some liken our diplomatic position in the reality of international politics to being in the crossfire, which entails the perception that South Korea is under pressure as it stands between the major powers,” Choi said during the forum hosted by the cable channel MBN and the think tank East Asia Institute.
“This observation may hold true and is meaningful, but we don’t need to limit our options,” he added.
To cope with the challenging geopolitical context, South Korea should build a cooperation network with neighboring countries, develop the South Korea-U.S. alliance into a future-oriented one and further deepen the strategic partnership with China, Choi said.
The vice minister also stressed the need to pursue “consistency” in foreign policy decisions based on national interests and principle to prevent the political interpretation of policy choices Seoul makes.
As Washington ramps up its anti-China move ahead of the U.S. presidential election early next month, with a defiant Beijing hitting back, Seoul has been striving to map out a coherent strategy to navigate the increasingly treacherous waters of convoluted geopolitics.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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