S. Korea, China vow to bolster bilateral ties

By Yeo Jun-suk
  • Published : Mar 30, 2018 - 19:30
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2018 - 19:30

South Korea and China on Friday agreed to bolster bilateral economic and environmental ties amid lingering concerns the latest China-North Korea summit could complicate the upcoming inter-Korean and US-North Korea summits.

During his meeting with President Moon Jae-in, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi pledged to work with South Korea in addressing health threats posed by fine dust after a rare acknowledgement that the issue is attributed to air pollution from China.

The Chinese official also noted China would restore economic ties strained by Seoul’s decision to deploy a US advanced anti-missile system here. Yang said China would help bring back to normal Chinese tourism to South Korea as well as the operations of South Korean companies in China 

South Korea`s President shakes hands with the Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi during thier meeting at Cheong Wa Dae Friday. Yonhap

“China takes President Moon’s interest seriously,” Yang was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae. “Sooner than later, there will be tangible measures. I’m hoping you believe my words.”

Cheong Wa Dae said while Yang briefed Moon about the summit between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping, the two parties agreed not to reveal their discussion publicly.

Yang arrived in Seoul on Thursday to brief Moon and his senior aides on the outcome of the surprise summit between Xi and Kim, who made his first overseas trip since taking power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011.

Before meeting with President Moon, Yang held talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. During the meeting, Yang delivered Beijing’s support for South Korea and the US’ planned summits with North Korea.

“We are supporting (the planned) inter-Korean and North Korea-US summits,” Yang said through an interpreter at the start of the meeting in Seoul. “And we hope that there will be an important achievement to be made through these meetings.”

According to the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency, Kim said he is willing to resolve the decades-old nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula if Seoul and Washington take “phased, synchronized” measures and create an “atmosphere of peace and stability.”

In his meeting with Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on Thursday, Yang gave reassurances against concerns that the Xi-Kim meeting would complicate the upcoming denuclearization talks with North Korea.

“I believe that Kim’s trip to China (will) help resolve the issue of the Korean Peninsula through political consultation about denuclearizing the peninsula and ensuring peace and stability,” Yang said through an interpreter, according to pool reports.