The recent agreement by South Korea and China to mend a relationship strained by a US missile defense system could mark a shift in an Asian power balance that long pitted Seoul, Washington and Japan against Beijing.
Moon said to Xi during the meeting, "Korea-China relations briefly faced difficulty, but on the other hand, it was an opportunity to reconfirm how valuable we are to one another. I totally feel the same way", he said.
Abe said he proposed to visit China at an appropriate time, which would then be followed by a Xi visit to Japan.
"The two leaders praised the Seoul-Beijing agreement of October 31. and put bilateral exchanges and cooperation on the normal track in all areas", said presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan.
Restoring relations between Korea and China, getting North Korea to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics and creating an atmosphere conducive to talks with Pyongyang about denuclearization is a part of Moon's comprehensive strategy toward the North, outlined in his Berlin address in July.
"In this sense, Beijing may have decided that it had made its point over THAAD and that its interests would now be better served by improving relations with Seoul in order to help deal with the North Korea crisis in the coming months and push back against U.S. strategic designs on the region in the coming years", the writers summed up.
Now, a meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in appears to have strengthened relations between the countries.
That Beijing would soften its stance so easily after 16 months of tensions aroused suspicion in some quarters, with South Korea's Joongang Ilbo newspaper likening it to a sudden end to a "dark, endless tunnel".
Xi was quoted as saying it would be "new beginnings and a good start".
Just days after the agreement, in a November 3 interview with Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia, Moon emphasized China's importance and said he would pursue "a balanced diplomacy" with both Washington and Beijing.
Lian Degui, a professor with the School of Japanese Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, said Trump's visits to China, Japan and South Korea sent a signal that the USA needed cooperation among the three countries to tackle the North Korean nuclear issue.
The writers argue that China never intended the informal sanctions it slapped on South Korea after the deployment of a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system to be long term.
"There are signs of cooperation and improving relations between China, South Korea and Japan".
The Chinese leader also encouraged South Korea to resume dialogue with North Korea and re-engage with them for reconciliation and de-nuclearisation.