Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Ties with ROK have reached a new level

By Ouyang Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-20 08:18

Ties with ROK have reached a new level

A Chinese military officer places flowers next to a coffin before rites of placing the remains of a Chinese soldier in the coffin are conducted at a South Korean Army base in Paju, north of Seoul March 17, 2014. The remains of more than 400 Chinese soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War were placed in coffins on Monday during the rites, ahead of their return to China from South Korea next week for a permanent burial. [Photo/Agencies]

The Republic of Korea, according to an agreement reached last year, will return the remains of another 68 Chinese soldiers who died in the Korean War (1950-53) to China on March 20. The humanitarian move, which follows a similar one last year, is a goodwill gesture by the ROK toward China, which fought on opposite sides in the Korean War, and its people.

On a different level, the return of the Chinese soldiers' remains shows the two countries have established strategic communications, and have made great efforts to resolve their historical feuds and deepen political mutual trust.

The participation of Chinese People's Volunteers in the Korean War, an offshoot of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, was a significant military move aimed at safeguarding the newly founded People's Republic China. A large number of Chinese soldiers died in the war and were buried in the alien land.

Since the end of the Cold War, China has re-forged its diplomatic pattern and improved its ties with its neighbors and other countries across the world. Its strategic interests have also undergone big changes. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, China and the ROK have seen their exchanges and cooperation continuously expand and deepen in multiple fields on the basis of mutual interest.

China is now the ROK's largest trading partner, largest export market and largest source of imports. It is also the ROK's largest destination for overseas investment and tourists. The huge trade volume the ROK has with China, which exceeds its trade volume with the US, Japan and Europe, has bound the two countries' interests together.

Further development of bilateral ties thanks to the renewed initiatives of President Xi Jinping and ROK President Park Geun-hye serves both countries' pivotal interests and has been welcomed by people in both countries. China and the ROK took part in the Korean War, albeit on opposite sides, because of the strategic circumstances prevailing in the world at that time. And their strategic partnership today is the result of the development of bilateral ties and common interests.

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