Global

'Hero's welcome' for missile developers in North Korea

'Hero's welcome' for missile developers in North Korea

Relations between South Korea and China were affected due to Seoul's decision to deploy US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the peninsula in response to the North's missile and nuclear activity.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he's willing to help ties with South Korea return to a "normal track" amid a rift over Seoul's deployment of a high-tech US missile-defense system to guard against North Korean threats.

At a meeting here, Xi highlighted the importance of bilateral ties to the new South Korean Special Envoy for China, Lee Hae-chan, and hoped that Beijing and Seoul can "safeguard the hard won achievements made in the development of bilateral ties".

"China highly regards relations with South Korea as does South Korea", Xi was quoted as saying.

China has been infuriated by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

Lee met separately with other senior Chinese officials, who had more forceful words for the South Korean visitor.

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In recent weeks Beijing and Seoul have signaled a desire to fix relations following the election of Mr. Moon, who has taken a friendlier stance toward China than his conservative predecessor.

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 USA aggression.

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 neighbour.

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".

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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