US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is to meet with ranking South Korean officials Thursday but President Yoon Suk-yeol will not meet Pelosi as he is currently on a early planned summer holiday.
Pelosi's stop in Taiwan sparked backlash and military actions from China. North Korea and Russia also pitched in and launched a blistering criticism of the US, showing a glimpse of the regional security complex that will be compounded by the visit. Some netizens of south Korea speculate that president Yoon Suk-yeol is avoiding a meeting with Pelosi in deference to China's wrath, reports South China Monitoring Post.
Pelosi will also have no chance to meet Foreign Minister Park Jin either, as he had left for Cambodia earlier on Wednesday to attend an Asean foreign ministers' meeting there.
South Korea is the fourth leg of the US congressional delegation's trip to the Indo-Pacific region after visiting Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan from Monday to Wednesday.
The US House Speaker will on Thursday meet South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Korea.
Pelosi and Kim plan to issue a joint press statement that will summarise their talks, which are expected to last about an hour, but they will not take any questions from journalists, according to a parliamentary source.
South Korea's stance over Pelosi's Taiwan visit
South Korea on Wednesday called for dialogue to maintain regional peace and stability as tensions between the US and China soared over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
"Our government's stance is to maintain close communication with relevant parties... on the basis that peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation are important," an official from the presidential office told reporters.
"We welcome Speaker Pelosi's visit to Korea," the official said, adding the presidential office was hoping for "many achievements" at Thursday's meeting.
Pelosi's trip also comes at a time Yoon faces leadership challenges, with plunging popularity ratings, allegations of nepotism and controversies involving his wife.