As tensions between the U.S. and China increased over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, South Korea urged dialogue on Wednesday, August 3. As part of her Asian tour, Pelosi is scheduled to go to South Korea as well. Her dramatic late-night arrival in Taipei on Tuesday, which infuriated Beijing, has so far overshadowed the tour.
President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping decided to set the date for their first in-person summit during a phone call on July 28. Xi also warned the U.S. against "playing with fire" in Taiwan. Both parties described the two-hour and seventeen-minute call as a lively discussion of the numerous disagreements between the world's two largest economies.
Xi spoke out strongly against U.S. policy toward Taiwan, a democratic island with close ties to the U.S. that China still considers being part of its territory. Xi was quoted as telling the president, "those who play with fire will eventually get burned, and I sincerely hope that the U.S. side is aware of that," using terminology he used when speaking with Biden.
She is the most prominent elected U.S. politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and China has made it clear that it views her travel as a serious provocation by issuing a series of progressively dire warnings and threats.
Beijing declares that self-governing, democratic Taiwan is part of its territory and has pledged to one day take the island by force if necessary.
Ahead of Pelosi's anticipated arrival in Seoul later on Wednesday, South Korea's presidential office urged for talks to bring about peace and stability in the region. "Our government's stance is to maintain close communication with relevant parties ... on the basis that peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation are important," an official from the presidential office said.
The official stated, "We welcome Speaker Pelosi's visit to Korea," and added that the presidential office was looking for "many achievements" at the meeting on Thursday. Due to his current vacation, President Yoon Suk-yeol will not meet with Pelosi, the official stated.
Last Aug 1, according to China's UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, the relationship between China and the U.S. will surely be damaged if U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan. However, if Pelosi made the trip, the U.S. said it would not be alarmed by Chinese concerns and would never "sit idly."