By Kim Kwang-tae
SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has apparently rejected South Korea's long-standing calls to end economic retaliations, sparking a torrent of criticism from the local business community.
China -- Seoul's largest trading partner -- has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages to the Asian neighbor. Such actions are widely seen as apparent economic retaliations over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
Seoul and Washington said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is only meant to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
But China has repeatedly pressed South Korea to withdraw the THAAD missiles out of concern that the deployment could hurt Beijing's security interests.
On Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Xi in Berlin and asked him to end China's "various constraints," in a thinly veiled reference to China's economic retaliations against South Korea's business interests.
The two leaders are in Germany for the Group of 20 summit, the world's premier forum that handles economic, diplomatic and other hot-button issues.
Still, Xi told Moon that South Korea should seriously consider China's legitimate concern and handle the relevant issue in a way that makes sense to remove obstacles for the improvement and development of the bilateral relations.
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