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China, ROK Agree to Bring Cooperation Back to Normal "As Soon As Possible"

China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have been maintaining communications on the Korean Peninsula issue through diplomatic channels, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on October 31.

"Enhancing communication and cooperation is in accordance with the common interests of China and the ROK. Both sides agree to return communication and cooperation in various fields to the normal track as soon as possible," a ministry press release said.

"Both sides attach great importance to China-ROK ties and stand ready to promote their strategic cooperative partnership," it added. "China and the ROK reaffirmed the principles of realizing denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and reaching a peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue."

According to the release, both sides agreed to enhance strategic communication and cooperation with an aim of facilitating a solution to the nuclear issue through all necessary diplomatic efforts.

The release said that the ROK has acknowledged China's stance and concerns on the deployment of the THAAD missile system.

"The ROK made it clear that the deployment of THAAD will not target any third country, and will not harm China's strategic security and interests," the release said.

It said that China reiterated its opposition to THAAD, as a matter of national security.

"The Chinese side notes the ROK's stance and hopes the ROK will properly handle related issues," the release said. "Both sides have agreed to continue communication through military-to-military channels."

The release also made clear China's concerns about the ROK's participation in U.S.-led missile defense networks, any additional THAAD deployment, and trilateral military cooperation between the ROK, Japan and the United States.

"China's stance on the THAAD deployment is clear, consistent and has not changed," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing on the afternoon of October 31.

It has been reported that ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told lawmakers on October 30 that the ROK was not considering any additional THAAD deployment, and also said the country would not participate in the U.S.-led missile defense networks.

Kang also stressed that trilateral security cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo would not extend to a military alliance, the reports said.

China hopes the ROK will do as it says to properly handle related issues, Hua said.

It is the common wish of China and the ROK to properly handle the THAAD deployment and remove the obstacles to bilateral ties, Hua said.

Hua said China stands ready to make joint efforts with the ROK to return bilateral ties back to the normal track.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2017) 

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