President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang prior to further bilateral talks at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Manila on November 13.
"I believe today's meeting can offer an important opportunity for us in the development of the bilateral relationship, bilateral cooperation in regard to the Korean Peninsula issues and in exercising leadership in the future", he said.
Moon, who sent a special envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after his inauguration this year, promised to strengthen relations with the bloc "to the highest level".
The South Korea-China summit, the first of its kind in four months, marked what many called the start of normalizing ties between the two countries.
After months of Chinese protest and discussions, the countries' foreign ministries issued a joint statement on October 31, saying the countries will put their relationship back on the right track.
Li said the Seoul-Beijing relations were already facing "active" or positive changes.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks before the ASEAN-South Korea 2017 Summit in Manila. But Japan, whose relations with both neighbors have often been fraught, appeared to make little progress toward its hopes of hosting a trilateral summit by the end of the year.
How to deal with the South China Sea issue was also a point of contention at the ASEAN summit meeting held Monday.
The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South's presidential office said.
"I am confident about the China-South Korea relations because their [industrial] structures are strongly complementary", Li was quoted as saying, adding a "new horizon" will open for the countries' bilateral relationship.