Reception Canceled for Japan, South Korea, China Ministers; China’s Top Diplomat Said to be Too Busy to Attend

AP file photo
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference in Beijing on Friday.

BUSAN, South Korea — A dinner reception scheduled to be held Sunday for a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea in Busan, South Korea, has been canceled, according to sources.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s schedule was too tight to attend the reception, according to China. The event would have been hosted by South Korea.

However, China’s move is believed to have been aimed at restraining Japan and South Korea as they continue to strengthen their ties with the United States, according to observers. The foreign ministers of Japan, China, and South Korea met Sunday for the first time since 2019.

It was not until Friday that the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry was able to make an official announcement about the cancellation of the reception. According to diplomatic sources of the three countries, even by the middle of this month, China had still not contacted South Korea about whether Wang would be able to attend the party.

A joint press conference of the three foreign ministers was also not to be held, as China asked at the last minute that it be canceled. Wang was expected to return to China immediately after the trilateral meeting.

Some members of the South Korean government believe China did this out of spite toward South Korea and Japan.

It is true that Wang’s diplomatic schedule has been busy. He accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping on his visit to San Francisco this month, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and also attended several summit meetings — including those between the United States and China, as well as Japan and China — on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

On Friday, the day before his arrival in Busan, Wang met in Beijing with visiting French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

Wang must also attend party meetings as a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

“He has meetings in China, so his schedule may be tight,” a diplomatic source in Beijing said.