S.Korean President to take cautious approach to THAAD issue

Lotte Mart’s homepage in China

Lotte Mart’s homepage in China

South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan, left, meets China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, May 19, 2017.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a special envoy of South Korea " s newly-elected President Moon Jae-in agreed in talks Thursday to resume the shuttle diplomacy between the leaders of both countries.

On the other hand, the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in had sent his envoy to China.

China has urged restraint, but as a result of the latest missile test, the Chinese are considering closing the Yalu River Bridge, which is responsible for more than half of North Korea's trade with China, as a way to punish the regime in Pyongyang.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: "China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government".

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. China retaliated against the decision to allow the system by suspending Korean retail giant Lotte Mart's stores in its territory, banning package tours and imposing stricter rules for sales of Korean cosmetics products.

There are signs of possible strains between Washington and Seoul, after Trump said the South Koreans should pay for Thaad and warned he might scrap a trade deal. Also confirmed was cooperation to counter North Korea's nuclear arms and missile threats.

Wang on Thursday reiterated calls for its dismantling.

President Moon, who took office last week, repeatedly vowed during his election campaign to renegotiate the agreement, which was reached under his predecessor's administration and drew criticism that it does not reflect the former comfort women's wishes.

It was the first time a Chinese leader had called a South Korean president to offer congratulations for an election win, Moon's spokesman said. "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". "Seoul needs to make a choice between deploying THAAD and resuming Sino-South Korean relations".

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