China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a "normal track", President Xi Jinping said yesterday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system that it opposes. President Moon's special envoy is due to fly back to Seoul on Saturday.
(STAND UP) "Such early invite of the nation's political party floor leaders by the president shows just how crucial it is for the Moon Jae-in administration to win bipartisan support from the opposition-led parliament".
It wasn't clear if THAAD came up in Xi's talks with Lee, during which the Chinese leader sat at the head of the table in a manner usually reserved for meetings with lower-ranking Chinese officials.
On Friday, Lee met Chinese President Xi Jinping, telling him that Seoul understands Beijing's concerns and is "ready to strengthen coordination with China to remove any obstacles" that undermine bilateral ties, Xinhua reported, citing the envoy.
Beijing has maintained its hard line, and in an editorial Thursday, the Communist Party newspaper Global Times said China's opposition "cannot be traded for the new government's friendly posture toward China".
Left-leaning Moon and Xi spoke on the phone last week and both agreed that denuclearizing the North was a "common goal" between them, Moon's spokesman said.
"He also expressed his opinion that he would seriously take into account the outcomes of his summit meetings with his Chinese and US counterparts in addressing the matter", said spokesman Park.
Yonhap quoted Hong as saying: "The most impressive thing that I heard (from Tillerson) was that sanctions and pressure are not by themselves aimed at harassing North Korea, but are designed to create an opportunity for North Korea's development through opening its doors and scrapping its nuclear program". South Korean businesses have faced boycotts, especially the retail group Lotte which provided the land on which the missile shield is being constructed.
Chinese-South Korean relations deteriorated after Seoul approved the positioning of the system.
The long-disputed THAAD deployment was constantly opposed by China, which has urged a peaceful solution to the Korean crisis. 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.