President Moon Jae-in on Thursday called for stronger ties with China, stressing the need to move on from the recent difficulties in the two nations’ diplomatic relations in the summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
According to Cheong Wa Dae, the two leaders agreed to four principles in handling North Korea’s nuclear issue.
The first is that Seoul and Beijing will not allow war on the peninsula, the second is that the two sides will pursue denuclearization of the peninsula.
Moon and Xi also agreed to approach related issues through peaceful means and dialogue, and that improving inter-Korean relations is beneficial to resolving issues on the peninsula.
Cheong Wa Dae also revealed that Moon and Xi agreed to develop relations beyond economic ties.
“The two leaders agreed to expand bilateral cooperation to that on the level of political, diplomatic, security and between political parties,” Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said.
Yoon added that Moon expressed hopes for trilateral cooperation among Korea, China and the US, and Korea, China and Japan in security issues.
According to Yoon, the two leaders emphasized the need to quickly improve relations, and agreed to resume investment projects that had been stalled in recent months.
In the opening remarks, Moon said that Korea and China opening diplomatic relations in 1992 was a “monumental event” that marked the beginning of post-Cold War order in Northeast Asia, Moon praised the two countries’ economic development and corporation in the past 25 years.
Describing his impression of Xi from their two previous summit meetings as a “sincere and trustworthy leader,” Moon said that he hopes for their latest summit to lay the foundations for further improvements in bilateral relations.
Moon and Xi met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, held in Germany in July, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum held in Danang, Vietnam, last month.
“(I) hope to cooperate in gaining the momentum for the two nations’ future growth, and to roll out projects (the results of which) can be felt by the people of the two nations,” Moon said.
Moon expressed hopes for China’s collaboration in resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue, and that the frosty relations in the recent years could provide an opportunity for furthering relations.
President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during Thursday's summit in Beijing. (Yonhap)
Seoul’s decision to deploy the THAAD US missile defense system has been met by strong criticism from Beijing, and a number of retaliatory economic measures have been taken against South Korean business entities. Although the two sides agreed to normalize relations, Seoul and Beijing have yet to narrow their differences on THAAD, and other security-related issues.
As for Xi, he highlighted the importance of ties with Korea.
“China-Korea relations, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula are at a critical juncture. As friendly and close partners, (Korea-China relations) has the vision of cooperation and mutual benefits in projecting regional peace and seeking mutual development,” Xi said.
Following the summit meeting, the two sides signed seven memorandums of understanding on seeking closer cooperation.
The MOUs signed include launching negotiations on the service sector and investment, cooperating in environment-related industries, and cooperating in environmental protection.
The two sides will also seek more cooperation in health and welfare, livestock hygiene and quarantine, the energy industry, and for the organization committees of PyeongChang and Beijing winter Olympic Games.
Ahead of the summit, Moon began his second day in China breakfasting at a restaurant frequented by locals.
“By experiencing the everyday lives of ordinary Chinese people even for a short time was an opportunity to approach the Chinese people with sincerity,” Cheong Wa Dae said.
At the end of the meal, Moon used China’s mobile payment system to pay for the meal, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon’s four-day state visit, which began Wednesday, has a strong economic tint. Moon is accompanied by the largest delegation of South Korean businessmen, numbering over 200, and much of his time in China is taken up by business-related events.
“There is a saying that a long road may not be so arduous when accompanied by a friend. There is also a Chinese saying that they must first become friends before doing business together,” Moon said at the opening of a South Korean-Chinese trade fair in Beijing before the summit.
President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping inspect an honor guard in Beijing. (Yonhap)
“I hope the South Korea-China Economic-Trade Partnership event today will be an opportunity for you all to meet true partners that will be your friends for the rest of your lives.”
Moon had also spent much of his first day in China focusing on business and economic issues.
On Wednesday, Moon addressed a Korea-China business forum, and said that economic development of Korea and China is intricately bound to each other, and called for stronger future oriented relationship of economic cooperation.
The South Korean leader also put forward three principles, and eight major directions for achieving the goal. The three principles are systemizing economic cooperation, establishing a reciprocal economic cooperation framework, and “people-centric cooperation,” which Moon described as cooperation based on cultural and human exchanges.
Moon’s stay in Beijing will be wrapped on Friday, when he is scheduled to meet with Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People‘s Congress Zhang Dejiang and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, after giving a speech at Peking University.
Moon will then move on to Chongqing where he will visit the site of the provisional government of Korea during the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula and meet with Chen Min’er, secretary of the Communist Party of China for the city. While in Chongqing, Moon will also visit a Hyundai Motor plant in the city.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com