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U.S. envoy vows to call out countries backing North Korea

19 May 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump told South Korea's presidential envoy that Washington was willing to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis through engagement, but under the right conditions, South Korea's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Such moves underscore a willingness on the part of China's Communist Party leaders to fan the flames of anti-South Korea sentiment, said Korea expert Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts University in MA.

Last week, Moon and President Xi Jinping both agreed that denuclearizing North Korea was a "common goal", Moon's spokesman said. Xi, in his turn, invited Moon to visit Beijing.

Since the beginning of the year, relations between Beijing and Seoul have soured over the deployment of a USA missile defense system - THAAD - in South Korea.

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.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in center consoles family members of the deceased in front of a grave marker during the 37th annual May 18 Democratic Uprising memorial at the Gwangju National Cemetery in Gwangju South Korea Thursday
U.S. envoy vows to call out countries backing North Korea

China "is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination, which is in the fundamental interests of both countries and the region", Xi was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Before leaving Seoul for Beijing, Lee said Moon could meet Xi as early as July at a Group of 20 summit in Germany, while a separate meeting could also be possible in August.

South Korea's Defense Minister said on Tuesday that a missile fired on Sunday by the North suggests that Pyongyang's aim of producing a projectile that can carry a nuclear warhead as far as the U.S.is more advanced than previously thought.

The US troop presence in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, is primarily to guard against the North Korean threat.

While Trump might be tempted to consider some kind of surgical strike against North Korea's nuclear facilities, he could unleash a North Korean counter-attack against nearby Seoul with devastating destruction and countless deaths.

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"From previous year, the South Korea-China relationship suffered a setback which should not have happened, and this is an unwanted situation", Wang said at the meeting.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the Thaad deployment.

"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", he said.

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

Mr Moon won an election last week campaigning on a more moderate approach towards the North and said after taking office that he wants to pursue dialogue as well as pressure.

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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".

Adam Cathcart, an expert on China and Korea at the University of Leeds, said Beijing "has really backed itself into a corner on the THAAD issue, having made it an explicit red line issue for the Chinese public".

The missile launch was detected by new THAAD anti-missile system installed in South Korea, which is equipped radar that Raytheon claims can track a baseball hit out of a park from hundreds of miles away.

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U.S. envoy vows to call out countries backing North Korea