South Korean President Moon Jae-in's first state visit to China, starting Wednesday, comes at a time when the two countries' ties, once frozen over Seoul's deployment of a controversial anti-missile system, have been thawing, thanks to intensive high-level interactions between the two sides in recent weeks.
The visit provides a good opportunity for both to repair their damaged mutual trust, which is not only crucial for re-invigorating bilateral relations, but also for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul has argued that it deploys the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to protect itself from possible missile attacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but it is now almost a global consensus that the U.S.-backed system can hardly ensure South Korea's safety as Pyongyang is more likely to choose low-altitude missiles for not-too-distant targets, for precision and cost reasons.
But one thing is for sure that the THAAD system deployed in South Korea, capable of spying on vast areas in China and Russia, is actually a potential threat to regional peace.
China has been consistent in its opposition to the deployment of the THAAD system, but values South Korea's assurance not to add to the existing system, or participate in the U.S.-led missile defense system, or develop a military alliance with Japan and the United States.
Although the noxious atmosphere stemming from the THAAD system has been partially dealt with, the future of the bilateral relations is still tied to Seoul's adherence to its promises regarding the issue.
China and South Korea are also key parties to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, with their common interests far outweighing their differences.
As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said earlier, related parties should heed China's proposal of "double suspension", and be willing to take the first step to pull the Korean Peninsula back from confrontation, so as to lay the ground for the resumption of talks.
The suspension-for-suspension initiative calls for the DPRK to hold in abeyance its nuclear and missile activities, and for the United States and South Korea to suspend their large-scale war games.
The increasingly volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula could lead to a disastrous scenario neither Beijing nor Seoul wants to see. That's the most compelling reason why they should strengthen communication and cooperation on the basis of respecting each other's core interests and grave concerns, and make up for the lost time for developing bilateral ties in the past year.