South Korean journalists beaten in Beijing despite ‘new start’ with China


South Korea has issued a demand for a formal apology after security guards at a trade event blocked a group of journalists covering President Moon, severely beat one of them, and landed him in the hospital, where he required “intensive treatment,” the Yonhap News Agency reports.

  • The incident occured ahead of Moon’s meeting with Xi Jinping on Thursday, in which the two leaders are attempting to improve relations frayed by the deployment of a U.S. antimissile defense system in South Korea, which China wants removed. The New York Times (paywall) reports that “the two sides agreed before the meeting not to issue a joint statement, South Korean officials said, signaling that China was sticking to a tough position on the antimissile system.”
  • South Korean cultural imports such as soap operas, movies, and K-pop all fell victim to the standoff between the two governments. Reuters reports that as part of the effort to smooth things over, Moon brought several South Korean celebrities along during his trip to China, including actress Song Hye-kyo, star of hit TV series Descendants of the Sun that took China by storm last year, and the chart-topping boy band EXO.
  • On the North Korea front, China’s navy was scheduled to start a four-day live-fire exercise in the Bohai Sea, as the United States, South Korea, and Japan also conducted naval drills in the East China Sea.