Beijng - China has approved the construction of three industrial parks to be jointly operated by South Korean and Chinese firms, its website said Sunday, amid growing signs of improvement in bilateral relations. In a circular released by the Chinese State Council on Friday, the government gave the green light to the separate projects to build industrial parks in three cities - Yancheong in Jiangsu Province, Yantai in Shandong Province and Huizhou in Guangdong Province. The construction projects were placed on hold last year as bilateral ties were strained by the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea in response to North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
Beijing’s approval of the projects came after the countries agreed to put their relationship back on a normal track in a joint statement issued Oct. 31, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in made a visit to China last week. According to the circular, the three industrial zones were urged to advance South Korea-China cooperation in the local economy and high-end industries. The construction of the joint industrial parks also represents China’s efforts to deepen its open-door polices based on its policy titled “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” which has been added to the constitution of the Chinese Communist Party as a component for the ruling party’s “guide for action.” The industrial zones are also being promoted as the lead initiative in dovetailing strategies for the two countries under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an extensive infrastructure plan to link Beijing with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Europe and Africa. South Korea and China have pushed for the construction of industrial parks since a free trade agreement between them came into force in 2015.