South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that a war on the Korean Peninsula will never be tolerated and the two Koreas should be free from nuclear weapons.
The two leaders reached the consensus during summit talks Thursday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Moon's chief PR secretary Yoon Young-chan said the two agreed that all matters concerning the Korean Peninsula, including the denuclearization of the North, should be addressed through peaceful dialogue.
They also said that enhanced inter-Korean relations can ultimately help resolve the region's problems, and urged North Korea to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
However, they added that both countries will faithfully implement UN Security Council resolutions on the North and cooperate in enforcing sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang.
On the sensitive issue of South Korea's deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, Xi proposed extra caution so that the tensions of the past year do not recur, and recommended that Seoul take care of the issue "appropriately."
The two leaders vowed to maintain close communication with face-to-face meetings as well as via other means such as regular phone talks.
The agreed principles are nothing new in the sense that both leaders have stated them before. But it’s meaningful that they are once again being publicized through a summit meeting.
However, a concrete joint roadmap on resolving the North Korea issue was not produced. Detailed measures suggested by each side were reportedly not brought up during the talks.
Initially, some predicted that Moon would ask for China's stronger role in implementing North Korea sanctions, but what was requested was a basic request for cooperation.
Regarding the THAAD missile defense system, Xi is also believed to have lowered his tone on this issue.
During their first summit in July, Xi expressed opposition to the deployment, and during the second summit last month, he urged for Seoul’s responsible attitude toward the matter. Though lingering differences remain, it's believed the two leaders agreed to put the issue behind them and pursue future oriented bilateral relations.
Through the summit, Moon and Xi officially declared their determination to completely restore bilateral ties. Their personal bonding, trust building and strategic communication are also expected to help tackle the North Korea issue.