Moon meets with Chinese foreign minister

06-Dec-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

President Moon Jae-in expressed his eagerness to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting with China’s top diplomat at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday.

“I would like to convey my special greetings to President Xi. It was regrettable that I was not able to meet him last month due to the cancellation of the Apec,” Moon said according to press pool reports. “Close dialogue and cooperation between the two countries will help stabilise security in Northeast Asia and overcome uncertainties in the global economy together. We look forward to deepening the dialogue and cooperation between the two countries during the Korea-China-Japan summit this month.”

The presidential office has eyed Xi’s visit as an impetus to normalise bilateral relations that have deteriorated since the row over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Korea. Beijing’s meddling in Korea’s decision to deploy the system has been seen by many Koreans as an encroachment of sovereignty. There has been no significant improvement in Korea-China relations during Moon’s term so far, with Xi yet to pay a reciprocal visit to Korea. Moon visited China in December 2017, a few months after he took office. With Wang’s visit, the first in five years, there are speculations that the two countries are arranging a possible visit by Xi in the near future.

Moon also urged China to cooperate closely on the security of the Korean Peninsula. “I think the process for complete denuclearisation and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula is at a critical juncture. I ask that the Chinese government continue to pay attention and support the new era of a nuclear-free and peaceful Korean Peninsula.”

Wang said he will deliver the outcome of the meetings with the South Korean leader to Xi. He reportedly emphasized the strengthening of ties in various areas and closer cooperation to deal with common challenges, such as the global rise of unilateralism.

The Chinese diplomat last visited South Korea with the country’s prime minister Li Keqiang during the trilateral summit between South Korea, China and Japan on October 31, 2015.

This was also the first visit by a high-ranking Chinese official since the relations between Seoul and Beijing soured after Seoul’s decision to allow the deployment of a THAAD anti-missile system back in 2016.

At that time, Seoul insisted the system was mostly aimed at deterring military threats from North Korea; however, Beijing urged Seoul to reject the deployment claiming it would threaten China’s national security.

In response to Seoul’s move, China banned group tours to South Korea, hitting the tourism industry here. Chinese consumers staged a nationwide boycott while the Chinese government imposed a series of pressures against Korea firms there.

During his two-day visit to South Korea, Wang met his counterpart Kang Kyung-wha Wednesday.

He told reporters after the meeting with Kang that China-South Korea relations “have never deteriorated” despite a series of Beijing’s retaliatory trade measures following the deployment of the THAAD system.

“South Korea and China are close neighbours, friends and, not least, partners,” Wang said during his meeting with Kang.

During the meeting, the two countries’ top diplomats agreed on their shared interest that North Korea should not be acknowledged as a nuclear power.

Wang also criticised “unilateralism” and “hegemonic acts” as threats to world peace, though he did not name any specific country.

His remark implies his country’s intensified rivalry with the United States over trade, maritime security and technology. Observers claimed the top Chinese diplomat’s visit could impose a certain degree of pressure against Seoul’s possible move to bolster Washington’s influence in the region, as South Korea is currently in negotiations with Washington over the cost-sharing agreement for 28,500 American troops here.


Category: Korea

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