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View more articles by Hamish Macdonald
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
The Presidents of China and South Korea – Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in – reiterated their nations’ commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula via peaceful means following a high level summit meeting in Beijing on Thursday.
The two leaders met to discuss a variety of issues, including North Korea’s continued development of its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, just two weeks after the DPRK fired its longest range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“China and South Korea share important common interests in safeguarding the peace and stability of the peninsula,” Xi said during the summit, according to a press release from China’s Ministry of Foreign affairs on Thursday.
“The peninsula issue will eventually be resolved through dialogue and consultation,” the press release added.
Moon’s press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, also told reporters that the two leaders agreed on four key principles during the discussions on the topic of North Korea.
“The four principles agreed by the two leaders were that first, a war on the Korean Peninsula can never be tolerated. Second, they will firmly maintain their principle on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Yoon said, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
According to the report, Yoon added that the two leaders also reiterated a commitment to resolve the nuclear issue through dialogue and that inter-Korean relations were key to achieve this end.
Xi added that China would coordinate more closely with South Korea and lend support to the advancement of inter-Korean dialogue.
“We would like to continue to strengthen our communication and coordination with South Korea on the stabilization of the war on peace and persuasion and peace talks,” China’s foreign ministry said.
While the two countries voiced their agreement in seeking a peaceful, diplomatic resolution regarding the issue of North Korea, Xi voiced China’s continued opposition to the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
“Xi Jinping reiterated China’s position on the ‘THAAD’ issue and hopes that the ROK will continue to properly handle this issue,” the press release read.
Seoul’s acceptance of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system, despite Moon’s previous opposition to THAAD deployment, invoked economic retaliation from Beijing that has chilled political relations between the two countries over the past year.
However, in the lead up to Thursday’s summit in Beijing, bilateral relations between the two countries appeared to improve slightly.
Moon is the midst of a four-day visit to China and will return to the ROK on December 16.