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

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

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

Earlier in the day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's special envoy Lee Hae-chan arrived in China to meet with country's leadership.

In the months leading up to Moon's ascent to the Blue House in Seoul, the North ramped up its nuclear programme with missile tests, United States president Donald Trump threatened to step up military action and pressure grew on Pyongyang's ally China to intervene to solve the problem.

Paul Haenle, a former White House national security council official who now directs the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, said Moon's election highlights the importance of South Korea's role in resolving the issue.

The golf course, which Lotte Group, the country's fifth-biggest conglomerate had owned, was designated as a site for THAAD that Seoul and Washington agreed in July past year to deploy in southeast South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday said he will take a cautious approach to the issue of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system. China retaliated against the decision to allow the system by suspending Korean retail giant Lotte Mart's stores in its territory, banning package tours and imposing stricter rules for sales of Korean cosmetics products.

THAAD is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear- armed North Korea, but China fears it will upset the regional security balance.

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Wang on Thursday reiterated calls for its dismantling.

"We hope the new [South Korean] government will correct the problems we have encountered and take effective measures and positions as soon as possible to remove the obstacles that have been placed on the road to good relations between our two countries", Wang is quoted as saying by state newspaper the Global Times.

Mr Xi called the South Korean leader to congratulate him shortly after his election victory last week, and the pair spoke of the common goal of a denuclearised Korean peninsula.

Japan "wants to coordinate closely with the new South Korean administration to tackle a variety of issues and establish a future-oriented relationship", Kishida told Moon.

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

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