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China says war must not be allowed on Korean Peninsula

16 December 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in pledged in Beijing to put a spat over Seoul's deployment of a U.S. missile shield behind them and work to improve ties between the two of Asia's largest economies.

Ties had chilled for almost a year as Beijing was upset over the deployment of a US anti-missile system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), in South Korea, as a protective step in the crisis over the weapons programmes of North Korea.

Since Moon's arrival in Beijing on Wednesday, there have been no dining events scheduled ahead of a banquet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Moon also acknowledged the "temporary difficulties" between the nations, without mentioning the in US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system. Beijing has said it approves of a pledge from Seoul not to expand it.

Moon's state visit to Beijing came at a sensitive time with the two nations struggling to move past Seoul's decision to install THAAD here and China's economic retaliation that followed. In October, the nations agreed to put the dispute behind them.

The South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Thursday afternoon with China's second in command, Premier Li Keqiang, both emphasizing the need to promote bilateral friendship including economic cooperation and human exchanges.

Apache helicopter
GETTYAn Apache helicopter during military exercises in South Korea

He was taken to the hospital, where he was found to have a fractured eye-socket fracture and will likely have to return to South Korea earlier than planned to seek treatment, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported. Moon is seeking engagement with the isolated nation, but has backed pressure to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

But it wasn't clear if China and South Korea have fully resolved their differences over THAAD.

Seoul "regretted" that South Korean reporters were injured, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk, who issued a strong request to Beijing to investigate the case and respond with "needed measures". "North Korea is also a neighbor of China, and a rise in tension in the region due to North Korea's nuclear development is threatening the peace and development of not only South Korea but also China", Moon said in a special lecture at Peking University, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. "It's a strategic option to move on because there are other issues to cooperate with" such as North Korea, he said. Another principle recognizes that an improvement of inter-Korean relations is key to resolving the crisis on the peninsula.

Adding to South Koreans' shock and fury was the beating reporters traveling with Moon received at the hands of Chinese security guards.

The leaders later oversaw the signings of several memorandums of understanding including one to start follow-up negotiations on upgrading their mutual free trade agreement, cooperation on environment and energy.

China says war must not be allowed on Korean Peninsula