Frost thawing? Korean hopes rise of post-election improvement in Chinese relations

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China's foreign minister urged South Korea's new government on Thursday to remove "obstacles" to good relations amid Chinese anger at the U.S. deployment of an anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula.

Wang and former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan were expected Thursday to discuss ways of containing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons activities. He has shown a willingness to challenge the United States, saying that Seoul should reconsider its deployment of an advanced US missile defense system to better cope with North Korean threats.

South Korean retailer Lotte, which provided the land for the THAAD deployment, has also been boycotted by Chinese customers and seen construction halted on an amusement park it was building in northeastern China.

China "is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination, which is in the fundamental interests of both countries and the region", Xi was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

"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.

Earlier in the day, Lee met with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Xi's senior foreign policy adviser, and on Thursday with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Lee handed Xi a letter from President Moon Jae-in and expressed his gratitude for the warm reception.

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Throughout the election campaign, Moon called for deployment of THAAD to be halted and the decision about its future to be taken by the new government and the country's parliament.

"We hope the new government will correct the problems that we have encountered and take effective measures and positions as soon as possible to remove the obstacles that have been placed on the road to good relations between our two countries", Wang said in comments in front of reporters.

North Korea on Sunday test-fired what analysts say was its longest-range rocket yet as it accelerates efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

"Stopping the deployment of THAAD is the bottom line of China", the newspaper said.

Last year, there were reports that China had stopped giving approval to performers of Korean pop music, or "K-pop", to play shows in China, on the heels of Seoul signing the agreement to host THAAD.

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