Yoon’s office says harm can be done to both countries if ambassador fails in bridging role

June 12, 2023

The presidential office said Monday that an inappropriate bridging role by an ambassador could harm the national interests of both the home and host countries, referring to Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming’s recent controversial remarks on South Korea’s ties with the United States.

The official made the remarks in a media briefing, stressing that the position of an ambassador serves as a bridge between the home country and the host country.

The official said the presidential office has no particular position to add on the matter, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has fully conveyed Seoul’s position to Beijing and the South Korean Embassy in China has also expressed its position.

“Article 41 of the Vienna Convention stipulates diplomats’ duty to respect the laws of the host country. The same article also stipulates their duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the host country,” the official said.

Prime Minister Han Duck-so also emphasized that the role of an ambassador should be aimed at enhancing relations between the home country and the host country, saying Xing’s remarks were “extremely inappropriate.”

“Above all, I believe the actions of the Chinese ambassador were highly inappropriate,” Han said during a parliamentary interpellation session on diplomacy.

Xing said during his meeting with opposition leader Lee Jae-myung last Thursday that it is a wrong bet to believe that China will lose in the rivalry with the United States.

Seoul’s foreign ministry summoned Xing the following day to lodge a complaint and Beijing’s foreign ministry also called in South Korean Ambassador Chung Jae-ho later to express its own complaint.