Published: Пт, Мая 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Chinese, S. Korean officials seek to mend rift with meetings

Chinese, S. Korean officials seek to mend rift with meetings

Hong delivered a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The agreement for the leaders to meet in late June followed a meeting in Seoul between Chung Eui-yong, Moon's foreign policy adviser, and Matt Pottinger, the Asia director on Trump's National Security Council, Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of previous year.

Asked if North Korea's missile program was developing faster than the South had expected, he said: "Yes".

They will focus on resolving the bilateral tensions following China's anti-THAAD economic retaliation against South Korea.

On the respected 38 North website, aerospace engineering specialist John Schilling said it appeared to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile that could "reliably strike the US base at Guam" in the Pacific, 3,400 kilometres away.

The United States and South Korea have said the deployment is aimed purely at defending against any threat from North Korea, which experts have thought for months is preparing for its sixth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

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Defences are also being built up to protect against a potential U.S. air raid as North Korea prepares for a war.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter USA aggression.

The envoy said at the outset of the meeting, which was open to the media, that the two countries "have in common a practical interest to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue".

"Like an iceberg, the vast majority of Chinese-North Korean exchange, dialogue, and resentments go undetected, and they have a way of muddling forward", he said. He said the countries will prepare for the summit so that it "serves as an opportunity for both leaders to develop their personal bond and friendship".

"Anyone who follows the lead of foreign powers, and distances himself from a unitary people in the pursuit of selfish interests and desires, cannot avoid the harsh judgment of the people", a representative at the diplomatic mission based in China told reporters in Beijing, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

"The state of the alliance is strong and I am fully confident that it will only grow stronger between our two administrations", Pottinger said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a South Korean envoy on Friday 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. However, Washington remains Seoul's closest ally and military protector.

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