Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

China's Xi calls for S. Korea ties to get back on track

China's Xi calls for S. Korea ties to get back on track

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a South Korean envoy today he was willing to put relations back on a "normal track" amid tensions over a United States anti-missile system deployed on the Korean peninsula.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: "China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government".

During the call, the presidents discussed the deployment of the THAAD missile defence system in South Korea, which has always been criticized by China, as well as Moon's concerns about China's perceived economic retaliation against South Korea, according to Yonhap news agency.

The Korean delegation met separately with McMaster for about 40 minutes to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis and THAAD deployment.

Xi's conciliatory tone came a day after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Lee that Seoul must "remove the obstacles that have been placed on the road to good relations between our two countries".

Haley said a plan is still in the works between the US, Japan, South Korea and China - North Korea's only major ostensible ally - to halt North Korea's progress on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. South Korean businesses have faced boycotts, especially the retail group Lotte which provided the land on which the system is being constructed.

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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.

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In dispatched Lee to Beijing in the wake of his election victory last week.

Moon in a phone call with Abe last week said that most Koreans can not accept the agreement.

It was the first time a Chinese leader had called a South Korean president to offer congratulations for an election win, Moon's spokesman said.

However, Xi's comments helped push up the shares of several South Korean companies that rely on the spending of Chinese tourists, whose visits have fallen sharply amid the THAAD dispute.

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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