Special Envoy of South Korea President to visit China

President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with his special envoy to China Lee Hae-chan at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul

Moon has indicated that he is prepared to review the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) anti-missile system that the Chinese believe will interfere with the regional balance.

China says its influence has been exaggerated and has called on South Korea and the U.S.to end large-scale wargames seen as threatening by North Korea in exchange for the North suspending its missile launches and nuclear tests.

Mr Lee gave Mr Xi a hand-written letter from Mr Moon.

"We're now at a crossroads in our relations", Wang told Lee and urged the new Korean administration to "remove the obstacles" that stand in the way of better ties - a broad hint at the THAAD battery.

In the months leading up to Moon's ascent to the Blue House in Seoul, the North ramped up its nuclear programme with missile tests, USA president Donald Trump threatened to step up military action and pressure grew on Pyongyang's ally China to intervene to solve the problem.

In December 2015, the two countries agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue of Korean comfort women who were forced to serve as prostitutes at brothels for the Japanese military in wartime.

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Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who officially assumed office on May 10, has repeatedly criticized the previous government under impeached leader Park Geun-hye for agreeing to host the THAAD system without seeking parliamentary approval.

The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor.

"One of the reasons this issue is so challenging is that no one country can solve it alone, and getting all countries' interests and policies aligned is exceedingly hard", said Haenle. South Korean companies have claimed that Beijing took retaliatory measures against them, with the flow of tourists from China to South Korea dropping dramatically. "I said I am aware THAAD is of concern to the strategic security interests of China, and that the Korean government will find a solution to the matter in a genuine manner".

"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 and benefit both peoples on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect", he said.

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