Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol's attempts to curry favor with the United States by making provocative remarks on the Taiwan question were "shortsighted and unwise" and risked harming his country's relationship with China, experts said.
In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Yoon said he opposed attempts to change the status quo by force in the Taiwan Strait, and equated the Taiwan question with that of the Korean Peninsula, saying it is a global issue.
Yoon is scheduled to visit the U.S. this week for a summit with President Joe Biden and is also due to give a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
Experts said the irrational remarks on the sensitive issue showed Seoul's unprincipled pro-U.S. attitude and could disrupt the ROK's relationship with China.
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, said in an interview with the Global Times that the ROK should not become a pawn of the U.S. in helping contain China at the expense of its own national interests, which is shortsighted and unwise.
China hoped that ROK policy can correctly view the importance of Asia-Pacific regional stability and the Taiwan question, he added.
On Thursday, Vice-Foreign Minister Sun Weidong summoned the ROK's ambassador to China, Chung Jae-ho, to make solemn representation over Yoon's remarks. Sun said the remarks are "completely unacceptable".
The Taiwan question is China's internal affair and at the center of China's core interests. Resolution of the Taiwan question is the responsibility of the Chinese people, which brooks no external inference, he added.
The root cause of tension in the Taiwan Strait is separatist activities conducted by "Taiwan independence" forces with support from external forces, he reiterated.
Sun also emphasized that the nature and dimension of the Korean Peninsula issue are completely different from those of the Taiwan question and are not comparable in any way.
China urges the ROK to abide by the one-China principle and respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, he added.
The ROK ambassador gave an assurance that Seoul has consistently respected the one-China principle, and said its position remains unchanged.
"China has made serious demarches to the ROK side in Beijing and Seoul respectively regarding the ROK side's wrong remarks on the Taiwan question," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news conference on Friday.
"It is legitimate and justified for China to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our commitment to that is unwavering," Wang said.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang told a forum on Friday that remarks that China is attempting to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait go against basic common sense on international relations and historical justice.
He added that the logic is absurd and the consequences are dangerous.
Li Jiacheng, an associate professor at Liaoning University's School of International Studies, said the remarks by Yoon had poisoned the friendly atmosphere of engagement between China and ROK that were maintained during the previous administration of Moon Jae-in, and had also affected the stability of bilateral ties.
Yoon had taken a bold and outrageous move on the sensitive Taiwan question before his visit to the U.S., which crossed the line, Li added.