For an idea of how angry Seoul is with Beijing for not criticizing North Korea, read the papers.
South Korea’s newspapers Tuesday were filled with accounts leaked from the South’s foreign ministry of the apparently ham-handed way visiting Chinese state councilor Dai Bingguo treated South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in a weekend meeting.
According to Tuesday’s accounts (in English and Korean), Mr. Dai broke all sorts of diplomatic protocols by flying to South Korea on Saturday without notifying anyone here until just 15 minutes before landing, then demanding to use a Seoul airport that is typically reserved for the South Korean government and visiting heads of state.
Mr. Dai then requested an immediate meeting with Mr. Lee but wouldn’t say what it was about, also in apparent breach of diplomatic protocol.
On Sunday, when Mr. Dai met Mr. Lee, he showed up at the presidential Blue House with a group of Chinese reporters after telling organizers that he wanted the meeting to be secret. That left the Blue House to scramble to get a pool of South Korean reporters together to record the visit.
Then, the accounts said, Mr. Dai spoke to Mr. Lee for an hour before finally saying that Beijing was about to propose a meeting involving the participants of the six-party talks’ denuclearization process — both Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — to discuss the conflict between the North and South.
A spokesman for the foreign ministry said Tuesday he couldn’t confirm the Korean newspaper reports that cited anonymous ministry sources. After checking with officers involved in making the arrangements for Mr. Dai’s visit, he said no breaches of diplomatic protocol occurred.
But anger at China remains high in South Korea, with opinion polls showing that as many as 90% of respondents think Beijing is wrong not to criticize Pyongyang, which has acknowledged making the attack but blamed Seoul for inciting it.
Mr. Lee pointedly left China out of a speech he made to the nation Monday about the attack.
Of course, South Korea declined Beijing’s offer for six-nation talks, the same pitch China and North Korea have been making for months.
Source: KoreaRealTime/Wall Street Journal