China's Xi says willing to help end rift with South Korea

Claudine Rigal
Mai 20, 2017

They were expected to discuss ways of containing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons activities as well as the economic fallout over the deployment in South Korea of the US missile defense system called THAAD.

"From previous year, the South Korea-China relationship suffered a setback which should not have happened, and this is an unwanted situation", Wang said at the meeting.

The special envoy dispatched by South Korea's new President Moon Jae In said in Tokyo that Seoul wants regular summits and improved relations, which have been hindered by the memory of Japan's harsh colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910-1945.

Moon is scheduled to meet with Abe on Thursday to deliver a personal letter from the new South Korean president.

"President Moon said he hopes I'd also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected", Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

Kong told reporters on arrival that the South Korean president had asked him to convey to the U.S. government and people his thoughts on South Korea and the alliance and the deployment of the United States missile defense system "Thad".

China "is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination, which is in the fundamental interests of both countries and the region", Xi was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

The American THAAD defense system was deployed in South Korea last month, in response to North Korean missile tests.

Chinese-South Korean relations deteriorated after Seoul approved the positioning of the system.

The South Korean leader had pledged to review the hasty deployment of THAAD at a golf course in central South Korea. South Korean companies have claimed that Beijing took retaliatory measures against them, with the flow of tourists from China to South Korea dropping dramatically.

"Stopping the deployment of THAAD is the bottom line of China", the newspaper said.

"Especially now, when North Korea's relationship with China is at a nadir, the natural outlet for diplomacy is with South Korea", said John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul.

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