19 May 2017

News Report: China Hopes for Better Bilateral Ties With Newly Elected S Korean Leadership

China hopes that South Korea will further improve bilateral relations, Chinese Foreign Minister said Thursday during a meeting with Seoul’s special envoy.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – China hopes that South Korea, which elected a new president a week ago, will take constructive steps toward improving bilateral relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday during a meeting with Seoul’s special envoy.

The relations between South Korea and China became tense after Beijing stridently opposed Seoul’s decision to deploy a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the South Korean territory, saying that the move breaches the regional balance of power and undermines Chinese security interests. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who officially assumed office on May 10, has repeatedly criticized the previous government under impeached leader Park Geun-hye for agreeing to host the THAAD system without seeking parliamentary approval.

"Our bilateral relations have been facing difficulties, which we are reluctant to observe, since 2016. [We] hope, that the Korean side will take effective measures to return our bilateral relations back on the track of normal development," Wang said during the meeting with Lee Hae-chan, a special envoy of the South Korean president, broadcast by the China Central Television (CCTV).

In July 2016, Washington and Seoul reached an agreement on placing a US THAAD system in South Korean territory. In early March, the THAAD deployment began in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.