S.Korean President to take cautious approach to THAAD issue

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On the issue of the USA -operated antimissile system, Moon said he would carefully approach the matter after he is briefed by special envoys on their consultations with the leaders of important foreign nations they were sent to.

During a meeting with former South Korean prime minister Lee Hae-chan on May 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China is ready to work with South Korea to bring bilateral relations back on track, following months of tensions over the deployment of THAAD, a USA missile defense system that is meant to guard against threats from North Korea but that the Chinese government sees as a threat.

Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea’s hosting of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system, have taken on a more conciliatory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae In. Hong was also scheduled to meet with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry.

The statement by Foreign Minister Wang Yi came during the ongoing visit of the South Korean president’s special envoy, Lee Hae-chan, to China.

Lee said the meeting was productive, according to the report.

On Friday, Lee met Chinese President Xi Jinping, telling him that Seoul understands Beijing’s concerns and is “ready to strengthen coordination with China to remove any obstacles” that undermine bilateral ties, Xinhua reported, citing the envoy.

“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”, Mr Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

The American THAAD defense system was deployed in South Korea last month, in response to North Korean missile tests.

Demand has been strong for the amendment of the current constitution, which was introduced in 1987, as it fails to reflect changes having happened in the South Korean society.

In recent weeks Beijing and Seoul have signaled a desire to fix relations following the election of Moon, who has taken a friendlier stance toward China than his conservative predecessor.

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”.

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