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Chinese President Xi Jinping keen on patching up relations with South Korea

Ties between the two countries have soured over the deployment of a US missile system by South Korea

AFP | Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: Reuters)
File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: Reuters)

Chinese President told a South Korean envoy today he was willing to put relations back on a "normal track" amid tensions over a US anti-missile system deployed on the Korean peninsula.

In an apparent fence-mending move, South Korea's new President dispatched his envoy Lee Hae-Chan to after his election victory last week.

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

"Your visit to to step up the communication on important issues related to bilateral relations... Shows President Moon and his administration have attached high importance to our ties," Xi said.

For his part, Lee said Moon asked him to express his "gratitude" to Xi for his message of congratulations after the election.

Ties between the two countries have soured in recent months over the deployment of the powerful Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) shield in South Korea, which Beijing sees as a threat to its own military capability.

is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear- armed North Korea, but fears it will upset the regional security balance.

Left-leaning Moon and Xi spoke on the phone last week and both agreed that denuclearising the North was a "common goal" between them, Moon's spokesman said.

Tensions have been running high in the region, with Pyongyang launching what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea.

Xi's conciliatory tone came a day after 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".

First Published: Fri, May 19 2017. 10:52 IST