A Chinese streaming platform has restarted distribution of South Korean content after suspending it for nearly six years, South Korean officials said on Tuesday, in what Seoul called a sign of Beijing’s willingness to improve ties.
China’s streaming site Tencent (TCEHY) began distributing a film by South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, “Hotel by the River,” earlier this month, they said, in the first move such after Beijing effectively banned K-pop imports amid the tension. the US THAAD missile defense system stationed in South Korea.
A South Korean presidential official linked the timing of the gesture to a recent summit between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Yoon and Xi held their first face-to-face talks in Bali last week during which both sides agreed to boost cooperation. It was the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries since 2019.
Kim Eun-hye, Yoon’s press secretary, said the South Korean president stressed the need to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges at the meeting, and the move to Tencent appeared to be a “response” from Beijing.
Relations between South Korea and China have frayed in recent years following South Korea’s installation of the THAAD system in 2017 to better counter North Korea’s evolving missile threats.
China had argued that the powerful THAAD radar could look into its airspace and reacted by sharply reducing trade and cultural imports with South Korea, in a major blow to bilateral ties.