Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures towards South Korean President Moon Jae-In during a signing ceremony in Beijing. Photo: Reuters / Nicolas Asfouri
Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures towards South Korean President Moon Jae-In during a signing ceremony in Beijing. Photo: Pool/Agencies

Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in reportedly agreed on key principles to resolve the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula when they met in Beijing on Thursday.

South Korea’s Blue House said the two vowed “to prevent war and use dialogue” during their more than two-hour summit meeting.

According to the statement, Moon and Xi agreed in principle that they will not accept a war on the Korean Peninsula. They also agreed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and to look for a peaceful resolution through negotiations to resolve all issues regarding denuclearization of North Korea. Another principle recognizes that an improvement of inter-Korean relations is key to resolving the crisis on the peninsula.

The statement said Xi and Moon agreed to cooperate in pressuring Pyongyang to start negotiations through the use of sanctions and other pressure and both urged Pyongyang to stop its provocations. They also called for “faithful implementation of UN resolutions.”

Korea JoongAng Daily reported that the two leaders further agreed to put a bilateral flap over the deployment of a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in South Korea behind them.

According to Blue House statement, Moon and Xi agreed to a wide range of measures to soothe strained ties. The steps include bilateral summits, and setting up a hot line between the two countries.

THAAD issue resolved?

But it wasn’t clear if China and South Korea have fully resolved their differences over THAAD.

Xi reiterated China’s position on the THAAD issue and said he hopes Korea takes the issue seriously and handles it properly,” according to the Blue House statement

“It takes a long time to recover from a setback, but relations between the two countries are now improving fast,” the statement quoted Xi as saying. “The two countries should pay special attention to prevent any recurrence of this situation and properly manage the issue.”

According to the Blue House, Moon also stressed an October 31 agreement to normalize the strained ties between Seoul and Beijing. “It is important for the two countries to restore the bilateral relations as soon as possible based on mutual respect toward the main interests of the two countries,” Moon was quoted as saying.

Xi and Moon had earlier agreed on steps to defuse the THAAD issue.

Seoul now says it will not accept any additional US THAAD batteries and that it won’t participate with the US in a regional missile defense network. It also says it won’t join the US and Japan in a trilateral military alliance.

China, in return, is easing the economic retaliations it imposed on South Korea over THAAD.

But some analysts warn that China and South Korea may have differing interpretations of what was agreed to.

Beijing has objected to the THAAD deployment because it contends the system’s powerful radar can spy on Chinese territory.

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