S. Korea, China hold economic cooperation talks amid U.S. campaign against Huawei

huawei_p20_lite_reversoSouth Korea and China held their annual vice-ministerial economic cooperation talks Wednesday amid a U.S. campaign to push allies to shun Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and officials from other related ministries met with a Chinese delegation headed by Beijing’s Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang at the 23rd Joint Economic Committee session. The last committee session was held in Beijing in April last year. “I think it’s timely that we have this broad discussion to assess the current situation on economic cooperation and to discuss key interests of each country,” Lee said in the opening remarks.


“I hope that this will lead our bilateral cooperation to another level, through strengthening personal, cultural and environmental exchanges,” he said. Li agreed on the need for “the China-Korea trade to further advance to a new level,” assessing that “mutual efforts in various areas, such as trade and investment have brought big achievements.” Whether the Washington-led ban on Huawei products would be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting has been a point of attention. A ministry official said earlier that it is not one of the issues on the table at Wednesday’s session. The U.S. has put Huawei on its exports blacklist, citing security concerns related to the fifth-generation (5G) technology, amid an intensifying trade war with China. Washington has apparently been pressing its allies and partner countries to join the move.


In Wednesday’s meeting, South Korea was expected to call for China’s help in reviving key industries, such as tourism and culture to a level prior to Beijing’s imposition of restrictions on these areas. China took what appeared to be retaliatory measures on some areas of trade with Korea in 2017 after Seoul agreed to the U.S. deployment of its anti-missile system, THAAD, to Korea despite Chinese opposition.


By Kim Seung-yeon


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