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

President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with his special envoy to China Lee Hae-chan at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul

"President Moon said he hopes I'd also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected", Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said he was willing to normalise ties with South Korea following tensions over the installation of a United States anti-missile system last month.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system positioned by the US in South Korea has become a bone of contention between the two Asian countries.

Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination.

Some believe South Korea will first try to address China's dissatisfaction regarding THAAD, and then use it as leverage and try to persuade China to cooperate on bringing about North Korea's denuclearization.

"We're willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track", Xi said as he greeted Lee in Beijing.

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".

In a separate meeting with Mr Lee yesterday, China's top diplomat, Mr Yang Jiechi, said China "hopes that South Korea can respect China's major concerns (and) appropriately resolve the Thaad issue", Xinhua reported. Washington later invoiced Seoul for the defense shield - a step strongly opposed by the South Korean authorities. McCain has spoken out about the economic retaliation China has taken against South Korea for hosting the system.

Chinese-South Korean relations deteriorated after Seoul approved the positioning of the system.

During campaign, Moon maintained that the anti-missile system, known as Thaad, should be reviewed by the next administration and the National Assembly, as the previous Park Geun-hye government rushed to approve Thaad's deployment without due process. Beijing has suggested calling on North Korea to stop missile and nuclear tests in exchange for the US and South Korea suspending military exercises in the region.

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