The Korea Herald


China fires back at Yoon over Taiwan remarks

By Choi Si-young

Published : April 21, 2023 - 17:35

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The flags of South Korea (right) and China. (123rf) The flags of South Korea (right) and China. (123rf)

Chinese Foreign Minister said Friday Taiwan belongs to China, vowing to fight off anyone threatening to dispute the fact, a day after South Korea summoned China’s top envoy in Seoul for Beijing’s open criticism of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s remarks on Taiwan.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday it will not allow others to “meddle in conversations involving the Taiwan issue,” in response to Yoon’s interview with Reuters this week. He opposed changing the status quo on Taipei by force. Beijing routinely claims it could take over the self-ruled democratic island by force if necessary.

“Those playing with fire on Taiwan will get themselves burned,” Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said at a local forum held to discuss a range of issues including China-Taiwan ties. Qin did not name leaders or countries in particular, but many saw the fiery rhetoric as targeting the Korean leader.

The claims that China is challenging the rules-based international order and threatening to unilaterally change the status quo on Taiwan are not only “against the common understanding of international affairs” but “absurd and dangerous,” Qin noted.

For a long time, Taiwan has been part of the Chinese territory and that is the “history and status of Taiwan,” he added. The international order established following World War II is the evidence, according to Qin, who said separatists calling for Taiwan’s independence and countries looking to exploit the cause are the ones making threats to the existing global order.

“The Taiwan issue is one of our very core interests and we won’t back away from anyone trying to rewrite our one-China principle or play with our sovereignty and security.” Qin said, referring to the policy that acknowledges Beijing’s claims over Taipei.

During a regular press briefing Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijng had lodged its “stern protest” against Seoul’s decision to call in the Chinese envoy a day earlier. The remarks by the spokesperson, who at the time warned of “meddling in Taiwan conversations,” prompted the summons. Korea called the comments “unspeakable” and a “serious diplomatic discourtesy.”