China's Xi says willing to help end rift with South Korea

China's Xi says willing to help end rift with South Korea

Lee called for "close communications" to tackle the brawls over the deployment of the US' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea, saying Seoul has "sufficient understanding" about Beijing's concerns.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday expressed his hopes for a prompt return to the "normal orbit" of relations with South Korea which have been strained by disputes over a U.S. missile shield, Seoul's special envoy said.

Lee gave Xi a hand-written letter from the popular, liberal Moon, who easily won election earlier this month to replace Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

For his part, Lee said Moon asked him to express his "gratitude" to Xi for his message of congratulations after the election. It has retaliated against Seoul by suspending visits to South Korea by Chinese tour groups and trips to China by South Korean entertainers.

"China attaches great significance to bilateral relations and is ready to cooperate with South Korean side to maintain the achievements reached between the countries", Xi was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

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China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, told a visiting South Korean envoy on Friday that he hoped South Korea could respect China's major interests and concerns and appropriately resolve differences over the THAAD missile system issue. They were believed to have held talks on prospects for containing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons activities as well as the economic fallout over the deployment in South Korea of the USA missile defense system called THAAD.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment.

THAAD is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea, but China fears it will upset the regional security balance.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the programme is necessary to counter U.S. aggression. His envoy for Russian Federation will leave next week.

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