After more than three years, it seems that China and South Korea have mended their military relationship, as reports point to the two Asian nations reaching a point of “mutual trust.”
As reported by the South China Morning Post, South Korean vice-defense minister Park Jae-min issued a statement last week saying that the two countries are now “back on the right track.”
The vice-minister also confirmed that South Korea is set to send the remains of 109 Chinese soldiers who fought in the Korean war back home to China.
Jae-min pointed to the repatriation of soldiers’ remains as part of South Korea’s “ongoing goodwill effort” towards China. He referred to the gesture as “a result of efforts by the defense ministries of the two countries to prevent conflict and build mutual trust.”
This occurs against the backdrop of continuing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. Jae-min said that South Korea expects that improvements in the country’s relationship with China will continue despite these tensions and the challenges brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
Chinese-South Korean Dispute
In 2017, South Korea responded to North Korea’s test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile by deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. China objected to the deployment of the system, claiming that it represents a security threat.
China’s concerns stem from the fact that the THAAD system was constructed and supplied by the United States.
South Korea had repeatedly clarified that the use of a missile-defense system is purely defensive against the threat of North Korean missiles.