China and South Korea Restore Warm Relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images, Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

China and South Korea Restore Warm Relations

Two nations resolve a year of confrontations regarding the placement of a U.S. missile defense system.

China and South Korea agreed on October 31 to move past a yearlong frosty spell in their relations that began after Seoul upset Beijing by deploying a United States antimissile system in South Korea.

The South Korean leadership allowed the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (thaad) on Korean soil because Seoul is alarmed by the growing North Korean threat and wants America to be positioned to shoot down any North Korean missiles that could endanger South Koreans.

Beijing was incensed by the decision, because it fears that the United States could use thaad’s advanced radar to peer across the Yellow Sea to spy on Chinese territory. After the South Koreans ignored China’s objections and deployed thaad, China began boycotting South Korea’s tourism, cars, retail, entertainment, cosmetics, confectionary and other sectors that are heavily dependent on Chinese consumers.

The boycott inflicted significant damage to the South Korean economy, and led to months of frosty relations between Beijing and Seoul.

Now, however, China and South Korea—the world’s second- and 11th-largest economies—say that the cold season is over and they are determined to restore close relations once again.

“Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchange and cooperation between Korea and China serves their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

China has not wavered in its opposition to the thaad deployment, but the leadership in Beijing is willing to shelve the dispute in order to be able to cooperate with South Korea on the North Korean crisis and other matters. As a result of the restoration of ties, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is now planning to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Vietnam on the sidelines of the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (apec) to take place on November 10 and 11.

The timing of the China-South Korea thaw came just days before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Asia for his longest official visit yet, and the longest visit to Asia of any U.S. president in decades. Mr. Trump has stops planned in both South Korea and China, and the fact that Seoul and Beijing are suddenly determined to work closely together again could weaken Trump’s position in negotiations.

The Trumpet takes a keen interest in efforts by Asian nations to cooperate because Bible prophecy makes clear that in the “time of the end,” a powerful bloc of Asian nations will join together and play a major role in nuclear World War iii. Scripture refers to this conglomerate as “the kings of the east,” and shows that it will field an army of 200 million men (Revelation 16:12; 9:16). Ezekiel 38 shows that Russia will be the lead nation of this end-time Asian bloc and lists several specific nations—called by their ancient names—that will rally behind Moscow. Among them are “Magog,” which includes modern-day China, and “Gomer,” an ancestor of the modern Korean and Japanese peoples.

To understand the details of the role this “kings of the east” power bloc will play in end-time Bible prophecy, request a free copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.