Chinese premier urges South Korea to remove obstacles in bilateral ties

Pres. Moon to Meet with Chinese Premier Li

In his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Moon noted that "Korean wave is popular in the Philippines", with 1.5 million Korean tourists visiting the Philippines annually.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday it would not be easy for North Korea to completely destroy its nuclear weapons in a short time considering the state of its arsenal.

For months, China enforced what many believed to be de facto economic retaliation against South Korea that included a ban on large group tours to South Korea and a range of non-tariff import barriers that effectively prevented shipments of many South Korean products, such as cosmetics.

Seoul-Beijing relations have been at their lowest ebb due to China's protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defense system in South Korea.

The two countries agreed to normalize their ties in a joint statement issued by their foreign ministries on October 31.

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"If talks begin to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, I feel it will be realistically hard for North Korea to completely destroy its nuclear capabilities when their nuclear and missile arsenal are at a developed stage", Moon said in a briefing.

"And I hope that we could make joint efforts to further strengthen this trend". Li also expressed hope that both countries will normalize relations as early as possible. But, he definitely travels with a lighter heart as his Manila trip comes on the heels of a crucial face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Danang the evening before.

The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South's presidential office said.

Officials are seeking to resume an annual summit between China, Japan and South Korea, which was scheduled for July but postponed as Beijing and Tokyo locked horns over maritime sovereignty in the East China Sea, and China and South Korea squabbled over THAAD.

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