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South Korea's Moon to take cautious approach to THAAD issue

20 May 2017

Some believe South Korea will first try to address China's dissatisfaction regarding THAAD, and then use it as leverage and try to persuade China to cooperate on bringing about North Korea's denuclearization.

Restoring relations with China, which have soured since South Korea made a decision to bring in the American missile defense system THAAD, has been one of President Moon Jae-in's top priorities, and Moon selected one of his closest political aides and friends as his envoy to demonstrate his sincerity about achieving that goal.

Lee met separately with other senior Chinese officials, who had more forceful words for the South Korean visitor. In the song, group members chant that "about THAAD we say no, no, no", a reference to the U.S. Army's missile defense system fo.

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

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

Also in attendance were China's state councilor Yang Jiechi, as well as foreign minister Wang Yi.

"President Moon said he hopes I'd also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected", Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

South Korean retailer Lotte, which provided the land for the THAAD deployment, has also been boycotted by Chinese customers and seen construction halted on an amusement park it was building in northeastern China.

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It has retaliated against Seoul by suspending visits to South Korea by Chinese tour groups and trips to China by South Korean entertainers.

"We hope the new government will correct the problems that 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". "And he said he looks forward to cooperating closely with President Moon in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue so as to produce an outcome", Hong said.

Beijing has maintained its hard line, and in an editorial Thursday, the Communist Party newspaper Global Times said China's opposition "cannot be traded for the new government's friendly posture toward China".

Last year, there were reports that China had stopped giving approval to performers of Korean pop music, or "K-pop", to play shows in China, on the heels of Seoul signing the agreement to host THAAD.

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South Korea's Moon to take cautious approach to THAAD issue