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In diplomatic dance, Seoul courts DC, Beijing and Tokyo

SEOUL – Talk about being in the eye of a diplomatic hurricane.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol collared US President Joe Biden to bend his ear on trade frictions during a fund-raising dinner. He also won face time with stand-offish Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, who is playing a cagey game with Korean relations.

Yoon’s New York exploits follow his greeting of China’s chief legislator Li Zhanshu in Seoul on September 18, during which Yoon, requesting “mutually friendly feelings,” asked for a visit to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The latter meet and greet raised some eyebrows considering Yoon had pointedly declined to meet Li’s US counterpart, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after her controversial visit to Taiwan in August.

Pulling off wins in this thicket of diplomatic complexities would test the skills of a Metternich or a Kissinger.