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South Korea remains unchanged on China-Taiwan issue: Foreign Ministry

Seoul : South Korea remains committed to respecting the ‘One China’ policy amid tensions in the Taiwan Strait following the inauguration ceremony of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te earlier this week, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, China’s military began two days of what it calls “punishment” drills around the island, just days after the inauguration ceremony, which Beijing strongly condemned, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“There is no change in our government’s stance of respecting the One China policy,” Lim Soo-suk, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said during a press briefing.

The inauguration ceremony on Monday drew more than 500 foreign dignitaries from 51 countries, including Cho Kyoung-tae, a lawmaker of South Korea’s ruling People Power Party, and South Korea’s representative to Taiwan, Lee Eun-ho.

On Tuesday, China’s embassy in South Korea strongly condemned the attendance, stating that it “runs counter to the China-South Korea strategic cooperative partnership.” The embassy further urged the Seoul government not to interfere in China’s internal affairs in any manner.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, Lim said the Seoul government is closely communicating with Beijing on issues related to Taiwan, and the Chinese government is well aware of Seoul’s stance.

Meanwhile, Cho said China’s rebuke of his attendance at the inauguration constitutes Beijing’s interference in South Korea’s internal affairs.

“China is rather interfering in our internal affairs,” Cho told Yonhap News Agency, emphasizing that South Korea, as a sovereign state, should not be overly conscious of China.

South Korea did not send an official delegation, in a move widely seen as an effort to manage ties with China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.

Cho, who heads the Korea-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Association, reiterated that his visit was through an official invitation, separate from the government’s stance.

“We don’t refrain from doing things just because the government says not to,” he said, noting that South Korea is a country with a separation of powers, unlike China.

South Korea severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1992 when it established diplomatic relations with China. In 1993, South Korea opened a mission in Taipei to maintain unofficial bilateral relations and continue substantive cooperation.

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