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Sympathy is required for S. Korea and China

Posted December. 14, 2017 07:38,   

Updated December. 14, 2017 08:36


“South Korea and China share the same fate and must prosper together. If two countries cooperate as if they sail on the same boat, two countries will grow and develop together,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said at a South Korea-China business forum in Beijing on Wednesday during his first presidential visit to China. During the forum and a meeting with Korean compatriots, President Moon repeatedly said he wanted to convey his sympathy and condolences to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

The Nanjing Massacre by Japan has caused about 300,000 deaths and considered the worst anti-human crime of Chinese history. President Moon has become the first South Korean president to make an official position for the Nanjing Massacre. He seems to have wanted to display his willingness to the Chinese leadership that South Korea wants to express its sympathy and consolation to 1.4 billion Chinese people and restore the relations between South Korea and China by highlighting the same fate shared by two countries.

President Moon will have a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping today. Official agendas have not yet been clarified and it has been decided to skip a joint statement and a joint press conference. Against this backdrop, President Moon will be feeling the pressure heavier than before. However, at the same time, key issues between two countries, such as North Korea’s nuclear program or the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, are not limited to South Korea and China only as these issues also require involvement of North Korea, the United States or other parties. Solutions for these problems need more than just commitment or determination by South Korean and Chinese leaders. The key of the summit is willingness from two leaders and this will set a path to advancement or retreat of two countries’ relationship.

Nevertheless, China’s attitude to President Moon’s visit to the nation is rather icy cold. The People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's Communist Party, only wrote a short story of Moon’s visit on its Wednesday edition. The Chinese government’s official welcoming ceremony is planned to begin 30 hours after Moon arrived in Beijing. This is partly attributable to the Chinese leadership’s attendance to the Nanjing Massacre memorial event, but at the same time, the Chinese government seems to try to pressure its neighboring country.

Moreover, in a forum with two countries’ governments, academic circles and media ahead of the summit, the Chinese side brought up the South Korean government’s promise of “three Nos,” meaning no additional deployment of THAAD, no participation in the missile defense system and no expansion of military alliance involving South Korea, the United States and Japan, and called for a withdrawal. In this context, President Xi is likely to mention THAAD again. However, the South Korean government’s “three Nos” is a matter of decision to be made independently based on South Korea’s own sovereignty without China’s interference or demand.

The Presidential Office of South Korea has proposed “sympathy” as a keyword for this visit and highlighted “the same fate” or “walk in my shoes” between two countries to make China understand South Korea’s position, which is exposed to North Korea’s fearful nuclear weapon. The purpose of South Korea and U.S. demand to China to stop oil supply to North Korea is to make the North give up its nuclear ambition, not to urge China to act against humanitarianism. Xi should come to the summit with thoughts about how to eliminate U.S.’s consideration of military options and resolve nuclear issues in the North peacefully.