Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Wednesday highlighted the destined partnership between South Korea and China in terms of history and geography, as the two neighbors try to mend ties frayed over the deployment of US missile defense system.
"Former President Kim Dae-jung, whom I respect, said the Korea-US alliance is the destiny of the Republic of Korea. I think China is another destiny of the Republic of Korea," Lee said during an opening ceremony for an annual forum on relations with China.
"If Dangun's establishment of this nation in this land is our destiny, it is also our destiny that we're placed next to China," he said, referring to the legendary founder of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, which was created thousands of years ago.
|Prime Minister Lee Nak-yonn delivers an address during an annual forum on Korea-China relations on Nov. 15, 2017. (Yonhap)|
The remark came after South Korea and China agreed recently to mend relations that had been seriously strained for more than a year over Seoul's decision to host the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, which Beijing claimed could be used to spy on it.
"Recently, South Korea and China went through difficulties related to Korea's security and peace in Northeast Asia," he said, apparently referring to the THAAD tensions. "Fortunately, the two countries are overcoming it with Oriental wisdom."
The row demanded the two countries come up with strategies for coexistence and co-prosperity in a way that acknowledges each other's security realities and promotes mutual benefits, Lee said. The tensions also reminded the countries of the importance of trust, he said.
"Building on the achievements of the past 25 years, Korea-China relations should prepare for a leap into the future in the next 25 or even 100 years," Lee said.
"With such an attitude, the South Korean government values Korea-China relations. I firmly believe that we will be able to take advantage of the long history between the two countries, our common culture and Oriental wisdom to overcome whatever hardships may come going forward." he said. (Yonhap)