November 01, 2017 09:36
Korea and China agreed Tuesday to normalize diplomatic ties frayed by a spat over the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here.
The two foreign ministries posted a joint statement on their websites and said the two presidents will meet on the sidelines of APEC forum in Da Nang, Vietnam next week.
"Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation between Korea and China serves their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchanges and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track," the statement said.
On the THAAD dispute they agreed to disagree. "Korea took note of China's position and concern regarding the THAAD issue," it said. "Korea made it clear that the system is, pursuant to the original purpose of its deployment, not directed at a third party and thus does not undermine China's strategic security interests."
"China reiterated that it opposes the THAAD deployment in Korea to protect its national security," it added. "At the same time, China took note of the position stated by Korea, and hoped that Korea would deal with related issues appropriately."
Korean companies hope that this will end a grueling unofficial boycott that has crippled their business in China.
Moon also plans to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the ASEAN summit in Manila on Nov. 13-14. Both Seoul and Beijing are pushing to hold a trilateral summit with Japan. Citing a diplomatic source, the South China Morning Post reported that China hopes Moon will visit Beijing before then.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump is set to visit Japan, Korea and China starting Sunday.
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