South Korea, China Reaffirm Unwavering Bond In 25th Anniversary Of Bilateral Ties

Patricia Chung, Aug. 24, 2017, 10:50 a.m.

South Korea and China hailed the 25 years of their successful diplomatic ties in a reception celebrating the relationship on Thursday and reaffirmed an unwavering bond going forward.

"The mutual signing of the establishment of South Korea-China diplomatic ties on the same day 25 years ago opened up a new chapter for our bilateral relationship," South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lum Sung-nam said in a reception at a Seoul hotel hosted by the Chinese Embassy in South Korea.

"Currently, there are in fact some issues facing the bilateral relationship. Nevertheless, it is important for the two countries to closely communicate to solve the issues," Lim said, referring to continuing diplomatic feuds over the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

"Through mutual efforts, such a crisis could become an opportunity for South Korea-China relations to develop into a mature one," the vice foreign minister said, adding that "I am assured that the trust and friendship between the people of the two countries, which have built up through the exchanges of the past 25 years, would be a foundation for the unwavering relationship and its further development," according to Lim.

He also stressed close collaboration between the two is crucial especially in the face of North Korea's unceasing provocations like the launches of intercontinental-range ballistic missiles.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong also touched on the diplomatic friction in his congratulatory speech, saying that the countries need to solidify mutual political trust in order to break out of it.

"More candid and in-depth communications would be mustered in order to ease skepticism and wariness against each other," the ambassador said.

Deepening mutual interests in issues like denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and maintaining stability would also help cement the relationship, Qiu said.

"The Korean Peninsula is a complex region with frequent tensions and sensitive security conditions. A failure to maintain peace and stability here would leave both South Korea and China as victims," he also underlined, calling for efforts to de-escalate tensions and increase dialogue.

He also pledged China's endeavor to further nurture the relationship with Seoul.

The reception was attended by some 400 officials and guests from both countries, far less than what their 20th anniversary reception in Seoul brought together in 2012.

The South Korean foreign minister sent Lim to the Chinese embassy reception, instead of the foreign minister who left for Russia for a three-day trip earlier in the day. China has also dispatched an official outside of its ruling Communist Party to a similar reception hosted by the Korean Embassy in Beijing.

Since normalizing ties on Aug. 24, 1992, the two neighbors, previously Korean War enemies, have rapidly developed relations in diplomacy, economy, culture and citizen exchanges. They proclaimed a "strategic cooperative partnership" in 2008.

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