China Signals Progress Regarding Relationship With South Korea

Erica Jung, Oct. 31, 2017, 9:15 a.m.


A Chinese Foreign Ministry official last week told Korean reporters to expect "good news" amid an unofficial Chinese boycott of Korean goods and services sparked by a spat over the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here. The remarks came after a regular press briefing. And during Monday's briefing, ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying welcomed a commitment from Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to let the U.S. deploy no further THAAD batteries in Korea.

"We value these three aspects of the remarks," Hua said. "The Chinese side has always been opposed to the deployment of the THAAD system in [Korea] by the US. We hope [Korea] will faithfully follow through on its... commitments, properly handle the relevant issue and bring... relations back to the track of steady and sound development at an early date."

Hua added that the ministry will be able to make an announcement on bilateral relations soon.

Following a meeting between the two countries' defense ministers last week, there was also news that bilateral exchanges of security and other officials that were halted amid the THAAD spat are resuming. And on Tuesday, the chief negotiators in stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program meet in Beijing for the first time in many months.

Korea and China are apparently close to announcing the normalization of ties after working-level talks behind the scenes. Speaking in a National Assembly audit on Monday, Kang told lawmakers an announcement should be expected soon.

She added that the two countries are planning a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the APEC meet in Vietnam next month, and President Moon Jae-in could visit China later this year.

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