South Korea’s Blue House has announced that President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a summit next month on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting (APEC) meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Korea JoongAng Daily said the meeting was a “first step” in steadying a bilateral relationship that was thrown into disarray by Seoul’s decision earlier this year to deploy a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in South Korea. The summit is the latest and biggest sign of improved ties between Beijing and Seoul since China’s 19th Communist Party Congress (CPC) ended last week.
“South Korea and China agreed that President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a summit next week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC] meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam,” said Nam Gwan-pyo, second deputy director of the National Security Office of the Blue House. The APEC meeting is scheduled for November 10 and 11.
Nam reportedly said the summit will be the first step in implementing an agreement between Seoul and Beijing that was announced by the two countries’ foreign ministries earlier in the morning. “Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation between Korea and China serves their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchanges and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track,” the agreement said.
Last week’s CPC finale launched President Xi Jinping into a second five-year term. Many analysts believe this gives the Chinese leader more latitude in resolving earlier friction in bilateral ties amid a nuclear crisis involving North Korea.
South Korean newspaper Chosunilbo noted in a story last week that some Chinese travel agencies are selling cheap package tours to South Korea again after the practice was suspended over the THAAD issue.
China and South Korea also decided recently to extend an important currency swap deal, eliminating worries that diplomatic friction over THAAD would block an agreement.