Monday, 21 August, 2017

Korean officials seek to mend rift with meetings

Richard Drew — The Associated Press file Richard Drew — The Associated Press file
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 06:41

A little over a week after President Moon spoke with President Xi over the phone, his special envoy, Lee Hae-chan met President Xi on Friday in person in Beijing.

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, too, pays great attention to the bilateral ties", Mr Xi said in comments in front of reporters in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Some believe South Korea will first try to address China's dissatisfaction regarding THAAD, and then use it as leverage and try to persuade China to cooperate on bringing about North Korea's denuclearization.

Mr Lee gave Mr Xi a hand-written letter from Mr Moon.

An emotional President Moon Jae-in made the comments Thursday during an event in Gwangju marking the anniversary of the massacre.

Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination. South Korean businesses have faced boycotts, especially the retail group Lotte which provided the land on which the system is being constructed.

North Korea Links Nuclear Advances to Hostile US Policy
Pollack said experts say the only one of these sites North Korea could potentially reach now is Hawaii, and that is a stretch. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that military action against the DPRK would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale".

The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor.

There are signs of possible strains between Washington and Seoul, after Trump said the South Koreans should pay for Thaad and warned he might scrap a trade deal.

Since Moon Jae-in took office on May 10, signs have emerged that Beijing and Seoul are seeking to reconcile their differences and fix damaged relations caused by the THAAD dispute.

President Moon, who took office last week, repeatedly vowed during his election campaign to renegotiate the agreement, which was reached under his predecessor's administration and drew criticism that it does not reflect the former comfort women's wishes.

Beijing has maintained its hard line, and in an editorial Thursday, the Communist Party newspaper Global Times said China's opposition "cannot be traded for the new government's friendly posture toward China". "Seoul needs to make a choice between deploying THAAD and resuming Sino-South Korean relations".

The ROK-China relationship is significant for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula as well as Northeast Asia, Lee said, stressing that the ROK is willing to enhance pragmatic cooperation with China and push forward the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation. "It should not hope to have it both ways".

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