South Korean and Chinese foreign ministries will meet on Tuesday to discuss measures to restart denuclearization discussions with North Korea and resume cultural exports to China.

Park Jin, South Korea’s top diplomat, arrived in the eastern port city of Qingdao on Monday for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, marking President Yoon Suk-first yeol’s high-level visit to China.

Park stated that he will propose cooperative action plans to deepen the relationship, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, strengthen strategic communication, and discuss topics such as North Korean denuclearization and global supply chain stability.

The Yoon government has been working to reduce North Korea’s nuclear testing and restart denuclearization discussions, which have been frozen since 2019.

Boosting cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as resuming K-pop exports, which have been practically banned due to tensions over the THAAD US missile defense system stationed in South Korea, are also high on the agenda, according to Park.

“I would like to discuss ways to promote communication and exchanges between the younger generations who will carry the future of both countries,” Park stated on Twitter.

“Considering the global popularity of the Korean wave, I will discuss ways to widely introduce K-pop and cultural content including movies, dramas and games to China.”

The discussions take place against the backdrop of escalating Sino-US rivalry, and Park is expected to reassure Beijing about bilateral ties despite closer connections with Washington and concerns over Taiwan. 

Park stated before departing for China on Monday that while South Korea continues to recognize one China, preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is critical to regional security and prosperity.

Both sides are also concerned about THAAD and Seoul’s likely inclusion in a US-led semiconductor alliance comprising Taiwan and Japan, which China opposes.

THAAD’s powerful radar, China claims, may see into its airspace, and it has dramatically reduced commerce and cultural imports from South Korea since Seoul announced the system’s deployment in 2016, inflicting a huge blow to bilateral relations.

Source: Reuters

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