The possibility of a South Korea-China-Japan summit will depend on Beijing, but Seoul will not "beg" the neighboring country for a summit, a presidential official said Wednesday.
A trilateral summit has not been held since December 2019 due to a deterioration of South Korea-Japan ties and the COVID-19 pandemic, but Seoul has offered to host a summit later this year as the current chair.
"It will depend on China's response," a senior presidential official told Yonhap News Agency, suggesting tensions over Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Xing Haiming's recent remarks could affect Beijing's decision.
"We will stand by our principle on South Korea-China relations in a dignified manner," the official continued. "I don't think it's something we should bow our heads and beg them over."
Tensions have flared between Seoul and Beijing after Xing said in a meeting with main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung that those who "bet on China's loss" in its rivalry with the United States "will definitely regret it."
The remarks were interpreted as a warning to Seoul against aligning itself with Washington.
During a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, President Yoon Suk Yeol reportedly compared the ambassador to Yuan Shikai, a Chinese military and government official who meddled in internal affairs while posted in Korea toward the end of the Joseon Dynasty.
"There is talk that Ambassador Xing reminds people of Yuan Shikai," he was quoted as saying.
Source: Yonhap News Agency