China urges S.Korea to 'remove obstacles' to good ties
China urges S.Korea to 'remove obstacles' to good ties
Richard Drew — The Associated Press file
19 May, 2017, 23:50
China is committed to solving any issues with South Korea through dialogue and coordination and working toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Xi said during a meeting Friday with Lee Hae-chan, South Korean President Moon Jae In's special envoy to Beijing. But bilateral relations plunged to their lowest level in many years after Seoul's announcement last summer that it would host the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, or THAAD.
China's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on Thursday reiterated calls for its dismantling.
THAAD is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear- armed North Korea, but China fears it will upset the regional security balance.
Before leaving Seoul for Beijing, Lee said Moon could meet Xi as early as July at a Group of 20 summit in Germany, while a separate meeting could also be possible in August.
Haley said the global community wants to be able to support North Korea, but as long as it continues trying to grow its nuclear program with missile tests, North Korea would remain an "island".
Moon has long said that the next South Korean government should review the Thaad deployment and decide to allow it only after seeking China's understanding.
U.S. President Donald Trump has sought the help of China, South Korea and Japan in pressuring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to halt testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
"We're now at a crossroads in our relations", Wang told Lee as he urged the new South Korean administration to make a decision to "remove the obstacles" that stand in the way of healthy ties between the two Asian economic powerhouses.
In recent weeks Beijing and Seoul have signaled a desire to fix relations following the election of Moon, who has taken a friendlier stance toward China than his conservative predecessor.
China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a "normal track", President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a US anti-missile system that it opposes.
Moon in a phone call with Abe last week said that most Koreans can not accept the agreement. "Seoul needs to make a choice between deploying THAAD and resuming Sino-South Korean relations".
In what both governments hoped was a major step forward, the two countries had agreed in 2015 to a deal created to end a row over Korean "comfort women" forced into sex slavery for Japanese soldiers during the World War II.
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