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China-ROK trust provides boost for regional stability

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 07:44

China-ROK trust provides boost for regional stability

President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov 11, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-wha is scheduled to visit Beijing on Tuesday to hold bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Reports by the ROK media say Kang's trip is to prepare for an upcoming summit between the leaders of the two countries.

Kang's visit underscores the two neighbors' earnestness in wanting to fully restore bilateral ties at an early date.

Relations soured after the previous ROK administration decided to deploy the United States' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the ROK. But the two sides announced they would bring bilateral relations back onto their normal track at the end of last month.

This came after Kang told ROK lawmakers that Seoul would not seek additional THAAD deployment and there has been no change in Seoul's stance that it will not participate in the US-led missile defense system. Since then, Beijing and Seoul have sought to rebuild momentum in their bilateral interactions.

President Xi Jinping met his ROK counterpart Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting earlier this month in Da Nang, Vietnam. A visit by Moon to Beijing next month would signal good relations are well on the way to being fully restored.

The current thaw in bilateral ties would not have happened had the ROK not realized the necessity of adjusting its policy on THAAD.

Moon has adopted a different approach to his predecessor. As his adviser said on Monday, Moon is seeking to build trust with China, Russia and Mongolia through economic cooperation and hopes to eventually expand the cooperation to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The strong political resolve and matching actions it has displayed to resolve the THAAD issue have paved the way for China and the ROK to restore trust. It is to be hoped Seoul will honor the commitments it has made.

Mending the fences of bilateral ties epitomizes the political wisdom of the two neighbors. It not only serves their own interests but also caters to the efforts to break the tensions arising from the antagonism between the US and the DPRK.

The situation has been threatening to spin out of control with the rhetoric of Washington and Pyongyang becoming increasingly aggressive. The shared determination of both sides to defuse the crisis without resorting to military options will surely help prevent that nightmare scenario from occurring.

China and the ROK have common interests in pursuing regional peace and stability. Something Xi rightly pointed out during his meeting with Moon in Vietnam.

And the public in the ROK is clearly appreciative of Moon's change of approach. His approval rating has climbed to over 70 percent in recent weeks.

The renewed rapport between Beijing and Seoul ties will help build on fruitful communication among stakeholders in the Korean Peninsula issue of late. This in turn can help create conditions conducive to resolving the issue through dialogue.

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