China's Xi calls for S. Korea ties to get back on track

President Xi Jinping said China was open to efforts by South Korea's new president to improve relations strained over his predecessor's response to North Korea.

"We hope the new [South Korean] government will correct the problems 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 is quoted as saying by state newspaper the Global Times.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said he was willing to normalise ties with South Korea following tensions over the installation of a USA anti-missile system last month. Ties soured following the deployment of the American THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with a senior South Korean envoy on Thursday (May 18), as the two countries try to lower tensions over Tokyo's wartime use of "comfort women".

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. Moon, who was elected president of South Korea on May 9, had campaigned on the promise to renegotiate the comfort women deal with Japan.

"The Chinese side requested us to not avoid the THAAD issue but address it directly", Lee said.

Citing what Moon said during the meeting, Chung Woo-taik, the whip of the Liberty Korea Party, told reporters that President Moon said he had obsessions to fulfill what he said.

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

Lee arrived Thursday for a three-day visit to China following Moon and Xi's first phone conversation since Moon's inauguration earlier this month.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the Thaad deployment. Also confirmed was cooperation to counter North Korea's nuclear arms and missile threats.

Hong Seok-hyeon, the special envoy to the USA, lays a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, May 17.

A special envoy to Russian Federation is expected to head to Moscow next week.

The former commando - he served 10 years in the country's Special Warfare Command - revealed that he and Moon's other bodyguards were all volunteers.

  • Essie Rivera