Last week’s China-South Korea summit confirmed the good relations between Beijing and Seoul under Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. When they met in Seoul on July 3 for their fifth personal meeting since Park assumed office in March 2013, the two leaders announced ambitious economic goals and reconfirmed their opposition to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Nonetheless, despite Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang’s pre-summit forecast that Xi’s trip would “take the strategic cooperative partnership between China and South Korea to a new level,” no breakthrough occurred, and their bilateral relationship remains essentially the same. Until Beijing distances itself from Pyongyang, it cannot fundamentally elevate its relations with Seoul.
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