US, Chinese envoys meet in South Korea amid high tensions

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming (left) and US Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris (right) confirmed that they met briefly at the residence of the Ambassador of the United States on Wednesday. United States in the South Korean capital. Photo courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Seoul

July 22 (UPI) — Top U.S. and Chinese envoys to South Korea held a rare meeting to discuss matters of bilateral interest in Seoul, the same day China said the United States had ordered Beijing to close its consulate in Houston.

US Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris posted a selfie of Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming and himself to Twitter Wednesday. Harris confirmed on the social media platform that he and Xing discussed “the important [U.S.-China] relationship”, and described his meeting with Xing at the residence of the American ambassador as a “good meeting”.

The Chinese Embassy in Seoul also posted photos of Xing and Harris on Facebook. The two diplomats appeared to be deep in discussion around a dining table with aides in a photo. In another image, Harris appeared to take Xing on a guided tour of the residence, where artwork, including vintage U.S. Navy posters, hung on the walls.

A U.S. Embassy staff member who spoke in Yonhap on condition of anonymity, Harris “said afterwards that he enjoyed the productive discussion with Ambassador Xing on a wide range of diplomatic issues.”

The embassy also said the meeting lasted about an hour, according to South Korean news agency Newsis.

The Chinese Embassy in Seoul said Xing told Harris that the stable development of US-China relations not only meets the core interests of the two countries, but also “coincides with the common aspirations of people around the world.”

“The cooperation between China and the United States would benefit everyone, and the conflict will harm both sides,” Xing said, according to the Chinese mission in Seoul.

Xing said China has “no intention of replacing the United States” and that China hopes the United States will “respect China’s core interests.”

The two sides also discussed issues on the Korean Peninsula, including trends North Koreathe embassy said.