Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Chinese, S. Korean officials meet in attempt to repair ties

Chinese, S. Korean officials meet in attempt to repair ties

China and South Korea have acknowledged that their relations and cooperation on halting North Korea's nuclear weapons program are important.

Mr. Lee said South Korean President Moon Jae-In had dispatched him to China to keep communications open between the two countries "at a critical time".

However, the election this month of Moon as president, replacing the ousted Park Geun Hye, has cast doubt over the agreement, which both governments previously had said "resolved (the issue) finally and irreversibly".

As reported, the ban kicked in on 15 March, part of a sweeping backlash against Korean companies prompted by South Korea's decision to deploy the USA anti-missile system THAAD.

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"Streets of the capital city of Pyongyang were full of festive atmosphere to greet the scientists of national defence", the official Korean Central News Agency said.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi made the remarks at the opening of a second day of meetings between Chinese officials and special envoy Lee Hae-chan, a former South Korean prime minister.

Speaking to Lee, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there had been some "undeserved setbacks" in relations this year, in apparent reference to THAAD.

"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.

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The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea.

However, Xi's comments helped push up the shares of several South Korean companies that rely on the spending of Chinese tourists, whose visits have fallen sharply amid the THAAD dispute. South Korean businesses operating in China were also hit.

Shares in Lotte Shopping 023530.KS reversed earlier losses to rise 1.5 percent, while Hotel Shilla 008770.KS , South Korea's second-largest duty free store operator, rose 2.8 percent.

KCNA said Kim accused the United States of "browbeating" countries that "have no nukes", warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North's "sighting range for strike". China is North Korea's biggest economic partner and source of diplomatic support and has come under heavy pressure to use its influence to rein in the North's missile and nuclear activities.

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The two leaders could hold their first face-to-face talks in July on the margins of a summit of Group of 20 major economies in Germany.

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