Moon says S. Korea, China at starting line, must move forward

By Yonhap
  • Published : Dec 15, 2017 - 18:37
  • Updated : Dec 15, 2017 - 18:58

BEIJING – President Moon Jae-in called for stepped-up efforts to quickly normalize South Korea-China relations Friday, saying the country must move forward as they share the same future.

"China and South Korea, historically and geographically, have shared the same destiny through peace and prosperity. I believe they are partners set by destiny that must continue to share peace and prosperity in the future," Moon said in a meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

The South Korean leader arrived here Wednesday for a four-day state visit. He earlier held a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

President Moon Jae-in and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang shake hands ahead of their meeting in Beijing on Friday. Yonhap

The Moon-Li meeting came only about a month after the two first met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum, held in Manila, the Philippines last month.

"It took six months since I came into office before I first met you, prime minister, but this second meeting took place in just about a month," Moon said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

"I hope the speed of the recovery and development in the South Korea-China relationship will accelerate to the same level."

Moon's trip here followed months of a dispute over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

Seoul and Beijing have agreed to normalize their bilateral relationship in a joint statement. Many, however, believe China has yet to completely let go of its grudge, at least until Moon's trip here this week.

"I am confident the president's visit will be an important opportunity for us to improve our relationship by paving a better way based on mutual respect and trust," Xi told Moon in their bilateral summit here Thursday.

Li said the countries may soon reopen communication channels to discuss economic and trade issues.

"I am well aware that communication channels between economy and trade-related offices are currently suspended," the Chinese prime minister told Moon, according to Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan.

"The countries may restart communication channels and strengthen their dialogue in the future," Li was quoted as saying.

Moon expressed hope his visit will mark the beginning of a new start for the two countries.

"I hope my visit to China will mark the first step in the countries' move toward a new era of co-existence," he said while meeting with Prime Minister Li.

"I wish to hold in-depth discussions today on ways to ensure future-oriented development of the South Korea-China relationship that now stands at the starting line of a new 25 years," he added.

South Korea and China marked the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties this year.

Li said his country too looked forward to moving forward with South Korea.

"We all look forward to the healthy and stable development of China-South Korea relations," he said, according to pool reports. (Yonhap)