Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul before N. Korea signals change in power dynamics in Northeast AsiaUpdated: 2014-07-01 PM 10:42:22 (KST)
This week's trip will mark the first time for a Chinese leader to visit South Korea before North Korea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Seoul for two days starting this Thursday in a visit that is expected to send a strong message to Beijing's traditional ally.
Relations between China and North Korea have soured recently.
Beijing was not happy when Pyongyang went ahead with a third nuclear test in February of last year despite China's warnings.
China's leadership was also deeply disappointed by the purge and subsequent execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek late last year.
Jang, who enjoyed a good relationship with Beijing, had made major contributions to an expansion of commercial ties with China.
While measures to end Pyongyang's nuclear program are expected to top the agenda during their bilateral summit talks, President Xi and South Korean President Park Geun-hye will also discuss other issues, including ways to deepen their economic cooperation.
Watchers say that, as China is South Korea's top trade partner and South Korea has the highest number of Chinese language proficiency test takers,it's only natural the two countries' ties have strengthened.
The summit meeting also signifies a shift in multilateral relations in Northeast Asia, where the traditional cold-war front of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan versus North Korea, China, and Russia is looking increasingly more complex.
While South Korea and China continue to butt heads with Japan over various historical and territorial disputes, Japan and North Korea are taking strides to normalize their once-frosty bilateral relations.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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