China's Xi says willing to help end rift with South Korea

China S. Korea meet in attempt to repair ties

Meanwhile, the South Korean Navy revealed a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group was to remain in the vicinity indefinitely, while Seoul's defense ministry warned it was ready to carry out a preemptive strike if it detected a missile threat from North Korea.

Separately, Moon said he will assume a cautious approach on the deployment of the THAAD missile defense in consideration of upcoming summits with the United States and China.

Speaking after the meeting with the envoy on Thursday, the Chinese foreign minister said that the two countries have experienced "unexpected setbacks" in bilateral ties this year, adding that relations are now "at a crossroads".

China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a "normal track", President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a US anti-missile system that it opposes.

Lee handed Xi a letter from President Moon Jae-in and expressed his gratitude for the warm reception.

The Chinese leader voiced his hopes to put relations "back onto a normal track" after resolving the existing disputes.

"This is the desire of our two peoples but also our governments".

"The urgent issue to be settled on the Korean Peninsula is to put a definite end to the USA hostile policy toward DPRK, the root cause of all problems", the North's deputy permanent representative to the UN Kim In Ryong told reporters at UN headquarters.

While it is unclear whether Lee discussed the THAAD issue with China's president, it was raised during his meeting with top Chinese diplomat and state councilor Yang Jiechi.

Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination. Xi, in his turn, invited Moon to visit Beijing.

Seoul and Washington have argued that the missile system is aimed at North Korean aggression, while China sees it as a threat to its own security.

The South Korean leader had pledged to review the hasty deployment of THAAD at a golf course in central South Korea.

In addition, there has also been a decline in Chinese sales of South Korean auto manufacturers Hyundai and Kia, as well as other protests. "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". Beijing has suggested calling on North Korea to stop missile and nuclear tests in exchange for the United States and South Korea suspending military exercises in the region.

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