China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a "normal track", President Xi Jinping said on Friday, 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.
The Chinese president told Mr Lee on Friday: "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".
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".
Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination. 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 US missile defense system called THAAD. Xi, in his turn, invited Moon to visit Beijing.
Lee also delivered Moon's letter, expressing his gratitude for last week's phone call and congratulations on the president's inauguration.
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Seoul and Washington have argued that the missile system is aimed at North Korean aggression, while China sees it as a threat to its own security.
North Korea claims the missile is a new medium-long range ballistic rocket capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.
South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment.
While North Korea regularly tests shorter range missiles, it is also working to master the technology needed to field nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States mainland.
China's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on Thursday reiterated calls for its dismantling. "Seoul needs to make a choice between deploying THAAD and resuming Sino-South Korean relations".
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