Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

S.Korea's Moon heads for G7 summit overshadowed by China

CoronavirusJun 11, 2021 12:50AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to depart Friday for the Group of Seven summit in Britain where talk of countering China could overshadow Seoul's efforts to be seen as a bigger player on issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea is one of several guest nations invited to the G7 meeting as the rich democracies try to show the world they can still act in concert to tackle major crises by donating hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries and pledging to slow climate change.

"We will show our leadership at the G7 in formulating joint responses to pressing global challenges including health issues and climate change," a senior presidential official told reporters.

Moon has touted some of South Korea's pandemic responses such as aggressive tracking and tracing, avoiding widespread lockdowns while keeping cases relatively low, as a global model.

Under Moon, South Korea has committed to zero emissions by 2050 and unveiled a "Green New Deal" to harness investment in green technology as a way to recover from the pandemic and vowed to end funding coal plants around the region.

However, the summit is also expected to include discussions on free trade and countering Beijing's growing influence. Another guest nation at the summit, Australia, has called on the G7 to back reform of the World Trade Organization to address the growing use of "economic coercion" amid a dispute with China.

Seoul has walked a fine line in its approach to Beijing, which is South Korea's largest trading partner and which has shown a willingness to retaliate economically, as during a 2017 dispute over U.S. anti-missile systems based in South Korea.

The presidential official did not mention China, but said that Moon would take part in discussions on "the need to reinforce the global supply chain and free trade."

Anti-China sentiment has reached historic highs in South Korea and Moon's ruling party is facing domestic pressure on the issue.

In his first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden last month, Moon surprised some observers by issuing a statement saying South Korea would work with the United States on "peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," a remark that drew a warning from China not to interfere in the matter.

The subtle shift to stronger public statements from Seoul appears due to several factors, including an increasing wariness of Beijing among South Koreans, and Biden's less bombastic approach than his predecessor Donald Trump, said Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a Korea expert at King's College London.

"Biden is cleverer in his approach to China, focusing on cooperation with like-minded countries and allies," he said. "This gives the Moon government sufficient diplomatic cover to cooperate with Biden's China policy."

The economic beating South Korea took during Moon's first year in office ended up hardening his party's views on China to a certain extent, and broader anti-China sentiment in South Korea has since soared, said Anthony Rinna, a senior editor with Sino-NK, a group that researches the Korean peninsula and its relations with neighbours such as China.

"With an election less than a year away, the onus is on the ruling party to demonstrate to voters that it can take a sufficiently tough stance against China," he said.

S.Korea's Moon heads for G7 summit overshadowed by China

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email