Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Beijing Sticks Its Guns On Dismantling US Missiles In South Korea

Beijing Sticks Its Guns On Dismantling US Missiles In South Korea

On Thursday, 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".

Greeting South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan in Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bilateral relations have made enormous progress over the years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping made a congratulatory call to Moon last week and Moon pledged to send special envoys to China as soon as possible as part of efforts to mend ties that have deteriorated following Seoul's deployment of the US antimissile system on the Korean soil.

South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan, left, passes on a hand-written letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, M. According to Lotte Mart on Tuesday, its official website in China has reactivated since last week after closing down on March 1 when Lotte Group made a decision to yield its golf course to the Korean government for the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile battery, further souring ties between the two countries and hiking hostility toward Korean businesses operating in China.

When Xi called Moon last week to congratulate him on his election, Moon reportedly asked Xi for help in ending the economic retaliation that has taken a toll on South Korean businesses.

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North Korea is also stepping up diplomatic actions to seek support and understanding from other countries over its missile launch.

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, called on Seoul on Friday to "respect China's major concerns and properly handle the issue of the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system", according to the official Xinhua new agency.

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

No doubt, considering the threatening nature of North Korea, which is certainly rising day by day, it is more important for the US and South Korea to improve their ties as quick as possible.

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. The threat from Pyongyang presents U.S. President Donald Trump with one of his greatest security challenges.

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 neighbour. Trump and Moon have both also warned that a major conflict with the North is possible. His envoy for Russian Federation will leave next week.

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