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Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming. File photo: dpa

China envoy blasts US for dividing Seoul and Beijing, defends Hu Jintao exit at Communist Party congress

  • Chinese ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming accused the US of being the ‘biggest external challenge’ to Seoul-Beijing relations
  • Envoy also claimed dramatic exit of former president Hu Jintao during 20th party congress was due to the ex-leader’s age
South Korea
China’s top envoy in South Korea on Wednesday accused the United States of being the “biggest external challenge” to Seoul-Beijing relations, and dismissed allegations that his country was turning a blind eye to Pyongyang’s nuclear development.

Ambassador Xing Haiming also lambasted Washington for its “self-righteousness” and “America-first” attitude, which he said stemmed from the country’s belief they are a “God-chosen people”.

“The biggest external challenge is the United States. The most serious internal difficulties are peoples’ misconceptions” in South Korea and China towards each other, said Xing.
He added that the dramatic departure by former President Hu Jintao from the recently concluded Communist Party congress was nothing more than a simple misunderstanding, claiming the elderly Hu had to step outside for a break.
Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming (2-L) speaks during a debate forum at the Press Center in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: EPA-EFE/Yonhap
The envoy’s blunt remarks come as the US seeks to herd South Korea, Japan and other “like-minded” countries into a regional alliance to contain the increasingly assertive China, adding fuel to the mounting rivalry between the two superpowers.
North Korea has been engaged in a series of missile tests, amid growing concerns that it may soon conduct a new nuclear test after carrying out six such launches between 2006 and 2017.
“China does not want any confrontational approach” in handling the Korean peninsula issue, Xing said, calling for dialogue with the North instead of increasingly tougher sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang.
Xing dismissed suggestions that China was not committed to implementing UN Security Council sanctions on the North and had been overlooking Pyongyang’s weapons development.
“We don’t allow it,” he said. “What benefits would it bring to China if something bad happens on the Korean peninsula? China has been consistent in pushing for denuclearisation and peace through dialogue.”
Xing made the remarks after US Ambassador to Seoul Philip Goldberg last week accused China of neglecting its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions for sanctions against the North and having failed to counter Pyongyang’s missile tests and sanctions evasion efforts.

“While we will continue to press Beijing to be the responsible actor on the world stage it claims to be, we cannot rely on the PRC [China] to play a supportive role in resolving regional and global challenges if that kind of attitude continues,” Goldberg said.

US threatens North Korea with nuclear deterrent to protect the South, Japan

Xing put the blame for deteriorating US-China relations on Washington’s “survival of the fittest” view and confrontational global policies.

“The United States considers itself as a God-chosen people and it has a biased perception that it should stand on top of the world as its systems are the best in the world,” he said. “They think anything that is different from their own is wrong and they go after it.”

The US accuses China of seeking to export its own ideology to the world but it is Washington that is “trapped in ideological self-righteousness”, Xing said.

“China has never thought its own system can be applied to all other countries. It respects the US and South Korean systems. China is not complete and it has its own problems. We happily accept criticism from a good will,” he added.


Former Chinese president Hu Jintao’s congress exit a break from the Communist Party script

Former Chinese president Hu Jintao’s congress exit a break from the Communist Party script

Analysts say South Korea finds itself in an increasingly difficult position, trying to keep its balancing act between Washington and Beijing amid an intensifying rivalry between the world’s two largest economies.

Xing said that China will not compel South Korea to take sides between Beijing and Washington.

The Chinese envoy also dismissed media speculation over why Hu was unexpectedly escorted out of the Great Hall of the People during the closing ceremony of the 20th party congress on Saturday.

“The media reports have been completely skewed. [Hu] is an aged man. He had to step outside for a break. That was all there was to it,” Xing said, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.