Seoul and Beijing resume 'normal' relations

Relations had deteriorated due to installation of Thaad anti-missile system. Beijing had boycotted flights, tourism, South Korean retail products. The resumption of communications takes place on the eve of Trump's trip to Asia. 

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Seoul and Beijing have decided to resume normal relations and resume trade and cooperation. The announcement was made in a joint statement following a meeting between Seoul’s National Security  Chief Nam Gwan-pyo, and Kong Xuanyou from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The deal comes after almost a year of strained relations following the deployment of some batteries of the Thaad anti-missile system.

In July 2016, faced with the threat of North Korean missiles, South Korea decided to install the US anti-missile defence system. But China declared its opposition because powerful Thaad radars can endanger its strategic security.

Afraid of being spied upon, China has reacted with punitive measures to South Korean business by forbidding Chinese visits to South Korea boycotting South Korean chain stores in China, etc.

The South Korean tourism, entertainment and retail industry, which is heavily dependent on Chinese customers, has been hit hard so that two chain stores in China, E-Mark and Lotte Mart have decided to leave the market Chinese.

The two countries have not yet resolved the anti-missile dispute, but both have stated that they will respect the other's position in search of a solution.

South Korea has confirmed that "the original purpose of deployment is not directed at a third nation" and China has noted "the position of the Korean party" and that it "agrees to engage in communications related to the Thaad ".

The change in atmosphere has taken place since President Moon Jae-in, winner of last May's elections, curbed the complete installation of Thaad and continues to propose dialog, along with sanctions against Pyongyang, to avoid any armed clash. His position, together with sanctions and dialogue with North Korea, resembles that of the United States, which - above all with its president - threatens war and destructive actions.

The announced agreement opens new high-level diplomatic meetings: Moon will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the margins of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), summit which will be held in Vietnam on November 10 and 11. By the end of the year, Moon will visit Beijing and Xi will visit Seoul in February at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The cooling of tensions between Beijing and Seoul takes place shortly before the first trip of US President Donald Trump to Asia. From November 3 to 14, he will touch Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Trump is expected to push Seoul and Tokyo to pledge to block the Pyongyang nuclear program and its missile threat.