Both teams had chances to win the tensest match of the tournament but a draw suited the hosts, who finished ahead of their opponents on goal difference.
The game was effectively a play-off for the final spot at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup next year with both teams coming in to the contest with six points from four games.
Both started the clash at Nanjing’s Jiangning Sports Center full of intent and the hosts almost went ahead in the first minute.
Song Duan teed up Lu Yueyun in the area but her effort was a good height for goalkeeper Min Yuk-yeong, who pushed it away for a corner.
At the other end Kim So-yi chased a crossfield pass and brilliantly turned inside her marker, her shot from a tight angle going into the side-netting.
Namgung Ye-ji then danced between two defenders out on the left only, with time and space to pick out a cross, to go for goal herself and blast well over.
Both sides were eager to break the deadlock and Song raced on to through-ball but under pressure could not get any power on her shot and Min saved.
With Korea Republic having to throw numbers forward in the second-half, China were looking dangerous on the break.
Song got down the left and fired a ball across the face of goal but it came too quickly for Li in the middle, who could not adjust her feet in time.
Korea Republic, the defending champions, were becoming increasingly desperate as their World Cup hopes were fading by the minute.
But it was China who continued to look the more dangerous with Song in particular keeping the Korean defence occupied.
Nerves were drawing errors from both teams with both coaches becoming more and more animated on the touchline.
China were now dropping deeper but Li tried to catch Min off her line from way out, the shot skidding just wide of the post.
Song then went through on goal and rounded Min only to let the ball run too far ahead of her and a covering defender got back to clear.
Korea Republic, though, had nothing more to offer as China, to much delight among the home crowd, held on to clinch a World Cup place.