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People's Daily Online

China calls for better bilateral ties with South Korea amid missile dispute

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 15:20, October 11, 2017

Chinese authorities on Tuesday said they hoped that the new Republic of Korea (ROK) ambassador to China would contribute more to the sound development of bilateral ties, sending a friendly signal amid Seoul's deployment of a US missile defense system.

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said that Noh Young-min, the new ROK ambassador to China who arrives in Beijing Tuesday, could promote a resolution for the current problems in China-ROK relations and enhances mutual understanding.

Hua's response comes on the heels of the expiration of the two countries bilateral currency swap deal on Tuesday. According to The Korea Herald, the $56-billion Seoul-Beijing swap agreement accounts for nearly half of the total amount of Korea's currency arrangements with other nations, serving as a crucial safety net for the country's financial stability.

"If the swap deal cannot be extended, the already strained financial market of South Korea will face even more challenges. Since Japan and the U.S. have already refused to extend currency swap deal with South Korea, the extension of the Seoul-Beijing deal is quite important," Zhan Debin, an associate professor at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, told Reference News.

As of press time, both countries have not confirmed the extension of the bilateral currency swap deal, with many Korean experts and media outlets worrying that China will refuse to extend the deal because China is against Seoul's deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

Seoul's hosting of THAAD has also affected the bilateral economic ties. According to news portal haiwainet.cn, no Chinese tour groups visited South Korea during the 8-day national holiday, despite the fact that South Korea was once Chinese tourists' top travel destination during holidays in the past few years.

In an effort to repair the strained relationship between the two nations, Noh Young-min, a former three-term lawmaker and the first ROK ambassador to China under the government of President Moon Jae-in, also showed a friendly gesture upon his arrival to China, saying that the two countries need mutual trust to restore their relationship.

"THADD's coverage can affect most of China's territory…it's understandable that China is worried about [it]. Though the bilateral relations between the two countries are now facing some problems, I still have faith in its future progress," Noh Young-min told Reference News, adding that he will try his best to promote the two countries' relations as the new ambassador.

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