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South Korean Scholar: Chinese Foreign Ministry Official Tells South Korea “Who Is the Boss”

Liu Jinsong (刘劲松), China’s Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Seoul in late May. China’s state media only reported that Liu conveyed China’s “stern” position to Korea and did not go into the details of the visit. Choo Jae-woo, a professor at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, wrote to The Korea Times that Liu enumerated “Four Not-allowed” positions to demonstrate to South Korea “who is the boss.” China’s “Four Not-Allowed” positions are:

  1. China will not cooperate with South Korea if it infringes on China’s core interests (e.g., the Taiwan issue);
  2. China will not cooperate with South Korea if it moves toward a pro-U.S. and pro-Japan foreign policy;
  3. China will not engage in high-level exchanges (e.g., Xi Jinping’s state visit to South Korea) if relations between the two countries remain tense; and
  4. South Korea will not be able to play a leading role on the North Korea issue if the situation deteriorates.

Mao Ning, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, responded to a question on Liu’s visit at a press conference: “Regarding the current difficulties and challenges in Sino-South Korean relations, responsibility [for the difficulties] does not lie on China’s side. In the recent dialogue, China has expressed its stern position on its core issues to the Korean side. The Korean side should understand the problems in depth and treat them carefully, walk in the same direction that China takes, and put in positive efforts to enhance Sino-South Korean relations.”

1. Sina, May 31, 2023
2. Epoch Times, June 6, 2023