South Korea and China on Thursday marked the 25th anniversary of bilateral relations. Presidents Moon Jae-in and Xi Jinping, and Foreign Ministers Kang Kyung-wha and Wang Yi, exchanged congratulatory messages and stressed the importance of their bilateral relations, according to a statement issued by the South Korean Foreign Ministry. Moon touched on the progress made since the diplomatic relations were established on August 24, 1992, while President Xi said the ties have brought substantial benefits to the people of both countries, reports Efe news. The Chinese President expressed hope that the two nations can manage their differences properly and strengthen their relationship in a stable and healthy manner. Despite decades of diplomatic tensions stemming from Seoul recognising the legitimacy of Taipei and Beijing of Pyongyang, the fall of the last military junta in South Korea led to a progressive rapprochement that eventually culminated into the 1992 establishment of diplomatic ties.
Since then the bilateral relations have gradually strengthened, particularly in commerce with China being one of South Korea’s main trade partners. Beijing and Seoul have engaged in rows over the US anti-missile system Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), which prompted China to impose a covert boycott of South Korean interests after the system installation in spring. While South Korea and the United States say that the system, installed on South Korean territory, is designed to intercept North Korean missiles, China believes its deployment has only escalated tensions in the region. China also considers the system a threat to its security. It fears that its powerful radars could be used to obtain information from its military facilities and has repeatedly warned that it would take measures to protect its interests.