| The state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to South Korea on Thursday will be a diplomatic event that will have huge impact on the dynamic relations in Northeast Asia including North Korea. It is the first time for a Chinese president to visit South Korea ahead of North Korea upon inauguration. This sends a warning to North Korea that is continuing with nuclear weapons development, and also delivers a message to surrounding nations including Japan that China lays importance on South Korea.
On Sunday, North Korea fired two mid-range ballistic missiles towards East Sea, a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions to which China had agreed on. Through its official Rodong Sinmun, Pyongyang said Monday that expectations that North Korea will give up nuclear program is just a silly dream, which will never be realized. North Korea`s National Defense Commission complained about South Korea-China cooperation by saying, "Put North and South Korean people before foreign power and lay importance on our people than international cooperation." South Korea-China summit is also indeed a pressing matter for North Korea.
President Park Geun-hye has met Chinese President Xi five times for summit talks. The two countries are expected to upgrade their strategic cooperation relationship during the upcoming meeting. Both countries should present concrete blueprint to urge North Korea to abandon nuclear program, and make a point to North Korea that there is no other way. Xi says he will not tolerate North Korea`s nuclear program, but at a joint statement at South Korea-China summit stuck to the expression "nuclear-free Korean Peninsula." Xi`s words and actions should be consistent to steer North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program. If no breakthrough is made at the upcoming summit, any upgrade of South Korea-China relationships will remain in an empty shell.
China, in part, pursues expansion of cooperation with South Korea as a means to check the U.S. and Japan. Financial Times said that if South Korea gets closer to China and instead distances from the U.S., it could be a big mistake, which reflects U.S.` concerns on South Korea`s pro-China policy. Japan`s denial of history and its expansion of collective self-defense rights without awareness of worries on the part of affected countries is one factor that facilitated South Korea and China to get closer. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe couldn뭪 visit South Korea and China for 18 months since his inauguration. South Korea should actively explain so that the U.S. and Japan do not worry about the advances in South Korea-China ties.
Chinese President Xi will be in office until 2023. Chinese people expect China to become G2 during Xi`s term by approaching the level of the U.S. in economic and military power. The upcoming summit between South Korea and China is hoped to create future visions of two countries 10 to 20 years ahead.