Pelosi Arrives In Seoul, But South Korea's President Won't Meet With Her
Nancy Pelosi has arrived in South Korea, continuing her Asia tour - now leaving in her wake a tense Taiwan situation that's seeing Chinese PLA forces encircle the island with live fire drills - but South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol will not meet with her.
While he had a pre-scheduled "holiday" which was announced in advance, there's been widespread speculation in the region that this was intentional (given weeks ago it was being reported she may go to Taiwan), so that Seoul can avoid bringing down China's wrath. Even Foreign Minister Park Jin happens to be out of the country - so there will be no Pelosi meeting with the nation's top diplomat either.
As House Speaker, Pelosi is second in line to the US presidency. Instead of meeting with South Korea's head of state, she'll instead greet National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, along with the opposition Democratic Party of Korea
The Korea Times says officials in Seoul are all too wary and nervous over the timing of Pelosi's visit.
"Amid the deepening U.S.-China rivalry, China has threatened military actions and it could invoke a U.S. response in kind, which would eventually affect South Korea, because of the South's alliance with the U.S.," director of the U.S.-China Policy Institute at Ajou University Kim Heung-kyu was cited as saying in the publication.
It marks Pelosi's first visit to South Korea since 2015, and she's expected to encourage the country to deepen its support for Washington's shoring up coordination among regional partners and allies to counter Chinese aggression.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Foreign Minister Park Jin won't meet #Pelosi.@President_KR's on leave and @FMParkJin will be attending a meeting in Cambodia.— Whistle (@Whistle020) August 3, 2022
"Oops, Nancy, sorry that we won't welcome you in South Korea."#Taiwan pic.twitter.com/TdbzuHTqUT
So far, as tensions between China and Taiwan soar, also with Beijing vowing to make the US "pay a price" - South Korea has urged dialogue and calm, with a presidential office statement asserting, "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."
Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan with wise words from “Benjamin Franklin, our presidency” on “freedom and democracy on one thing, security here.” pic.twitter.com/mElfFUoF5C— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) August 3, 2022
The statement also welcomed Pelosi and expressed hope for "many achievements" amid meetings lined up during her stay.