China and South Korea Agree to Mend Ties After the THAAD Fallout
photo by the Warzone
The leaders of China and South Korea reaffirmed joint efforts to resolve North Korea’s nuclear threat peacefully in a bilateral summit in Danang, Vietnam on Nov. 11. Estranged by the deployment of the US missile defense system THAAD in South Korea, the two countries highlighted the recent normalization of bilateral ties and welcomed strategic talks on all levels.
The U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system installed in South Korea last year has seriously concerned China. Although South Korea and the US claim that THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea, China suspects that its powerful radar could be used to look inside Chinese territory.
As a result, the bilateral relationship between China and South Korea has plunged into low ebb. The Chinese government ratcheted up diplomatic and economic pressure on South Korea, which has a negative effect on trade and business interests between the two countries. South Korea’s tourism, cosmetics and entertainment industries particularly bore the brunt of a Chinese backlash, though Beijing has never implied its correlation with the THAAD deployment.
The year-long frosted relationship ended on Oct. 31 when China and South Korea announced that they would put aside their differences out of joint desire to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The Foreign Ministries of both China and South Korea confirmed that the normalization of the bilateral relations would be on track.
“Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchange and cooperation between Korea and China serve their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track.” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
At the summit on Nov. 11, the leaders of both sides reaffirmed the determination to normalize the bilateral relations and strengthen cooperation on North Korea issue.
“The two leaders praised the Seoul-Beijing agreement of Oct. 31,” the Seoul newspaper quoted South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan. “And [they] put bilateral exchanges and cooperation on the normal track in all areas.”
Chinese President Xi reportedly called this agreement “a new start and a good beginning.” Xi said that China attaches much importance to its relations with South Korea and hopes the two nations will make their utmost efforts to foster a healthy and stable development of their ties.
Xi also remarked that the China-South Korea relation is at a critical point. He stressed that the two nations should respect each other regarding their key interests and critical issues, establish political mutual trust, and enhance bilateral communication and cooperation. He encouraged South Korea to resume dialogue with North Korea for reconciliation and denuclearization.
Credit: Korea Herald via Yonhap
Source: VOA News via AP