South Korea and China mend ties ahead of Trump’s visit to Asia

The detente in the relationship comes after China officially delinked the difficult conditions South Korean companies operating in China had to suffer since the spat with South Korea’s Blue House saying “China repeated this stance during discussions, saying difficulties faced by South Korean companies were prompted by individual Chinese citizens angered by the THAAD deployment,” and added that these burrs are likely to get ironed out slowly.

On Tuesday, Seoul and Beijing agreed to get back their diplomatic relations back on track following a year-long standoff over Seoul’s decision to protect itself from nuclear North Korea’s missile attacks with U.S. anti-missile system.

The installation of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system had vexed China, since the system can look deeply into its territory.

“Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchange and cooperation between Korea and China serves their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track,” said South Korea’s foreign ministry in a statement.

South Korea recognized China’s concerns on the THAAD issue and made it clear that its deployment was not aimed at any third country and did not harm China’s strategic security interests, said China’s foreign ministry

The bonhommie in ties precedes U.S. President Donald Trump’s scheduled visit to Asia where threats from North Korea are likely to take center stage.

As per South Korea’s president’s office, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will meet with China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an upcoming summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Vietnam on November 10-11.

The two heads of state are likely to discuss ways to boost bilateral trade ties as well as North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, said a senior official from South Korea’s Blue House on the condition of anonymity since the matter is highly sensitive.

In recent months, Pyongyang has increased its missile testing program and even conducted its biggest nuclear test in early September with its stated aim of developing capability to strike the United States with nuclear missiles.

North Korea’s move has drawn global anger, including China, its only major ally and has resulted in the imposition of touch sanctions from the United Nations and has brought its relations with China to a new low.

This deterioration in ties is likely to have played a role in Tuesday’s agreement, said an official from the Blue House.

Further, NATO has urged all members of the United Nations, to fully and rigorously implement, in a transparent way, sanctions against North Korea.

“North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear tests are an affront to the United Nations Security Council,” said NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Tokyo, where he met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In a separate development, a South Korean lawmaker said North Korea may have probably stolen the blueprints of a South Korean warship having hacked into a local shipbuilder’s database in April 2017.

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