Korean and Chinese Foreign Ministers hold call for the first time and pledge to enhance trade cooperation

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul held his inaugural discussion with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, focusing on diplomatic visits, supply chain issues, and North Korea’s nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul engaged in his inaugural conversation with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday, their first exchange since Cho’s recent appointment. The 50-minute call delved into various topics including high-level diplomatic visits, supply chain concerns, and the pressing issue of North Korea’s nuclear program, according to a statement from Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
During the dialogue, Cho referenced a prior agreement between the foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China aimed at expediting preparations for a trilateral presidential summit. Wang conveyed his support for this initiative, indicating a willingness to collaborate on facilitating such multilateral engagements.

The discussion underscores the significance both nations place on fostering diplomatic relations and addressing regional challenges. By initiating dialogue early in his tenure, Cho demonstrates a commitment to advancing diplomatic cooperation with China, a crucial neighbour and regional partner for South Korea. The Ministry reported that Wang extended an invitation to Cho for discussions in China to further address bilateral concerns. They emphasized the need for Seoul and Beijing to collaborate on supply chain management amidst evolving trade dynamics and to deepen trade and investment ties.

Cho urged China to play a constructive role in persuading North Korea to halt military provocations and engage in denuclearization talks. He also called for Beijing’s assistance in safeguarding the human rights of North Korean defectors in China. The call with Wang occurred later than Cho’s discussions with counterparts in the United States and Japan. Cho conversed with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken the day after his appointment and with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa on January 23. Moreover, he interacted with foreign ministers from Australia and Vietnam, and on January 30, he was visited by the U.S. Ambassador to Korea, Philip Goldberg.