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14 November 2017, 08:31 | Lucia Cruz
Moon lands in the Philippines for ASEAN summits after summit talks with Xi in Danang... set to sit down with Chinese
November 13, 2017 (EIRNS)-Following a bilateral meeting today on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum in Manila with the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, expressing hope their talks will further speed up the normalization of their ties, said "I believe we have created a chance to quickly normalize the countries' relationship through my talks with President Xi Jinping".
Meeting for the first time since their modus vivendi to put aside their differences and end a year-long standoff over the deployment of a USA missile defense system in South Korea, Presidents Moon and Xi reaffirmed their joint resolve to mend ties and restore cooperation in all areas.
The agreement was disclosed as Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping met Saturday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also vowed to fight protectionism and stressed the importance of regional financial cooperation. China earlier had protested the installation of the system known as Thaad - which Seoul insists is for defensive purposes only against Pyongyang - and taken steps to punish it economically.
According to Norio Maruyama, press secretary for the Japanese foreign ministry, Japan had discussed North Korea at meetings with other state leaders to "deliver the message that we consider important at this time".
Mr Xi and Mr Moon agree on the need for sustained dialogue with North Korea to make the regime give up its ballistic missile and nuclear development programmes.
"Prime Minister [Li] said the countries will inevitably face sensitive issues as the China-South Korea relations develop, but that the development of practical cooperation between China and South Korea is very bright", Yoon told a press briefing.
Highlighting the apparent end of the months-long dispute, Moon has agreed to visit China next month for what will be his third bilateral summit with the Chinese leader since taking office in May. "This is not sealed up", said Kim Heung-gyu, director of Ajou University's China Policy Institute, in a nod to the South Korea's government's choice of expressions. The deployment of Thaad has contributed to a 0.4 percentage point drop in South Korea's gross domestic product growth in 2017, according to Bank of Korea estimates, preventing it from growing at the fastest pace since 2011.
Journalists were only allowed to cover the two leaders' opening remarks. And Japan's relations with South Korea hit a sour note this month.
Tokyo was upset last week when Seoul invited a former "comfort woman" to a banquet for visiting US President Donald Trump and served prawns caught from waters around the Takeshima/Dokdo disputed islets.
"I want to take bilateral ties to a new level through these kind of high-level exchanges", Abe told reporters, adding he planned to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Philippines in coming days.
Abe said cooperation is vital to make the world economy more predictable, to mitigate vulnerabilities and to strengthen the free trade system.
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