Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Seoul-Beijing detente on THAAD is win-win for China: 38 North

Seoul-Beijing detente on THAAD is win-win for China: 38 North

Now, a meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in appears to have strengthened relations between the countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov. 11, 2017.

The two were meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit of Asia Pacific leaders in the Vietnamese city of Danang. A statement released by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 12 said that Xi had reconfirmed China's position on deploying THAAD in South Korea during his meeting with Moon the previous day.

Lian Degui, a professor with the School of Japanese Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, said Trump's visits to China, Japan and South Korea sent a signal that the USA needed cooperation among the three countries to tackle the North Korean nuclear issue.

South Korean police reportedly arrested a US citizen Monday for allegedly entering a restricted border area without a permit in a bid to cross over to North Korea. According to this explanation, the only reason Xi brought up the THAAD issue again was to put weight on bringing the issue to a close and normalizing South Korea-China relations.

"At the end of the meeting, President Xi said this is a meeting that marks a fresh start of relations between Japan and China".

The sabre-rattling has complicated China's relations with South Korea. "Since China has not retracted its official position that THAAD damages its strategic interests, the THAAD issue continues to simmer and could still boil over under the right circumstances", said Lee Hui-ok, director of the Sungkyun Institute of China Studies.

He also added that China sincerely hopes to improve the situation on the Peninsula, that could stimulate South Korea to resume dialogue and peaceful cooperation with the DPRK.

Tension on the Korean peninsula rose last month as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump exchanged war-like threats and insults over the North's nuclear and missile development program.

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