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On December 4, 2019, the Chinese Foreign Minister was visiting Seoul to try to ease tensions between the two countries since the deployment of a US anti-missile shield in 2017 by the South Koreans. AFP Photos / Chung Sung-Jun / POOL

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded a two-day visit to the South Korean capital on Thursday evening. The official purpose of his visit is to strengthen relations between Seoul and Beijing with the meeting of his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha and President Moon Jae-In.

With our correspondent in Seoul , Frédéric Ojardias

This is Wang Yi's first visit for 5 years. Relations between China and South Korea have been damaged since the installation of a US anti-missile shield, THAAD, in South Korea. The head of the Chinese diplomacy assures that China and South Korea are " friends and partners ". The two countries will strengthen their exchanges to " completely normalize " their relations, said their side of South Korean officials.

But under the diplomatic niceties, tensions persist. Beijing continues to inflict economic sanctions on South Korea since it installed, in 2017, a US missile shield that targets both North Korea and China.

Seoul weakened by Washington

Since then, Korean cultural products, video games and soap operas, remain banned by Beijing. And the Korean retail giant Lotte had to leave China, losing billions of dollars in investment. The number of Chinese tourists in Korea has dropped. Chinese military planes regularly violate the Korean air-identification zone.

Seoul is in a difficult position: China is its largest trading partner and holds the key to resolving the North Korean crisis. As for his American ally, he asks him to pay five times more for the presence of his army . The Seoul-Washington alliance is thus weakened. What intends to take advantage of Beijing to strengthen its influence on the peninsula.