Blinken supports efforts toward ‘mature’ China-South Korea ties: S. Korea ministry

SEOUL (Reuters): U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he supports South Korea’s efforts to develop a “healthy and mature” cooperative relationship with China, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Blinken, who arrives in Beijing on Sunday for the highest-level visit by an official of President Joe Biden’s administration, discussed bilateral relations, relations between China and South Korea, and North Korea in a call with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

Blinken and Park strongly condemned what they consider North Korea’s repeated provocations, the ministry said, and agreed the U.S., South Korea and Japan should continue to urge China to play a constructive role in the U.N. Security Council on denuclearisation. The statement did not elaborate.

U.S. officials say they do not expect Blinken’s trip to China, the first by a secretary of state in five years, to yield a breakthrough in how Washington and Beijing deal with each other. Blinken said on Friday the trip was aimed at establishing “open and empowered” communications.