China's Xi says willing to put South Korea ties back on track


US President Donald Trump told South Korea's presidential envoy this week that Washington is willing to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis through engagement, but under the right conditions, South Korea's foreign ministry said yesterday.

But critics of the deal in South Korea said Japan did not go far enough, and earlier this year Tokyo recalled its ambassador over a statue symbolising "comfort women", which was erected outside its consulate in the South Korean city of Busan.

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense scrambled to announce there was no way Seoul was paying, citing a bilateral agreement that the USA would cover the bill.

"We believe South Korea will bring clear measures to improve relations", Wang said.

"This is the desire of our two peoples but also our governments", Wang added.

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Before leaving for Beijing, Lee told reporters that summit talks between Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping could take place on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting to be held in Germany in July and then again in time for August 24 when both countries mark the 25th anniversary of building diplomatic ties. While it's too early to talk of a Chinese tourism recovery, the worst may be over as Korea's own new Moon finds increasing alignment with a near neighbour whom it has been on opposite sides from for several bitter months.

Yoon Ho-joong, a lawmaker who was part of the delegation, said, "80 percent of the meeting was about the North Korean nuclear crisis, and both sides refrained from comments that could make the other side uncomfortable". Whereas Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba posed an immediate threat that required a quick and decisive response, North Korea remains unable to launch a direct nuclear attack against the U.S. with its current arsenal, allowing the USA to continue its slow-burning strategy of "strategic patience" despite a recent spike in tensions.Pyongyang's latest missile test, however, indicates that North Korea is making significant progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon able to strike the United States mainland.

China's Foreign Ministry, in a later statement on its website, said Wang "fully explained" China's position on THAAD and asked South Korea to handle China's reasonable concerns appropriately.

It calls for closer cooperation to deal with the North Korean nuclear menace but also warns that an overwhelming majority of South Koreans are emotionally unable to accept a deal to compensate victims of wartime sex slavery clinched by the Park Geun-hye administration. Moon and his special envoys have said their job was to relay Moon's personal message to his foreign counterparts, and letting them know what he planned to do with his country and North Korea.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: "China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government". Moon has also named a special envoy to the Vatican.