South Korea Tries to Charm China Using Hallyu to Smooth Diplomatic Tensions
By Mei Manuel, December 15, 2017 04:12 AM
In his first visit in Beijing on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in brings in an entourage of some of South Korea's top talents and K-pop celebrities as an attempt to smooth out the tensions between China and South Korea during the year.
Since the deployment of the US anti-missile system THAAD in South Korea, China has immediately ordered economic sanctions to South Korea, shutting out all South Korean-related goods and services, including South Korean celebrities out of China's television and concert halls. China has clearly stressed that the deployment of the THAAD system is a threat to its national security.
In Moon's visit in China, he hopes to build up support from China to find a diplomatic solution to the issue brought by the North Korean crisis. Pyongyang had recently tested one of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles on November 29th, which it said could reach any part of the United States despite both international pressure and UN sanctions.
When both leaders met at Beijing's Great Hall of People, Moon said to Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would like to discuss North Korea with the Chinese leader.
In his statement before the reporters, Moon said, "I expect to reaffirm and discuss specific cooperation with President Xi about our common position that we'll address the North Korean nuclear issue, which is threatening peace and security of not only the northeast Asia region but the entire world, in a peaceful manner and establish eternal peace on the Korean peninsula."
He also oversaw the signing of a memorandum which would follow up current negotiations regarding services and investments under a South Korea-China Free Trade Agreement.
Included in President Moon's entourage is top South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, who starred in the 2016 hit drama "Descendants of the Sun" and the face of many of South Korean cosmetics. The drama became a massive hit in China when it was offered by the country's streaming sites, bolstering Song's popularity in the country. She joined the two leaders in the state dinner on Thursday alongside married South Korean and Chinese actors Choo Ja-yeon and Xiaoguang Yu.
Top Korean boyband EXO is also in China and performed at a bilateral event earlier in the day.
President Xi said to Moon that while the relationship between both their countries have experienced "some setbacks", he hoped that Moon's visit would be an important opportunity for them to improve it.
Xi said, "As friendly neighbors and strategic partners, China and South Korea have broad common interests in keeping the region peaceful and promoting mutual developments."
Moon's state visit ends on Saturday and aside from celebrities, Moon also brought with him a large business delegation in the hopes of establishing new trade deals to make up for the lost revenue caused by the THAAD disagreement. According to the Bank of Korea and the Korea Tourism Organization, the country lost around $6.5 billion worth of revenue from Chinese tourists in the first nine months of the year.
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