May 19, 2017 1:18 pm JST

China willing to mend ties with South Korea, Xi tells special envoy

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with a special envoy of new South Korean President Moon Jae In on Friday, telling him that Beijing wants to bring back ties with Seoul on "a normal track."

Xi also expressed China's willingness to properly deal with disputes and preserve the hard-won results that the two countries achieved in the past, as he began discussions with Lee Hae Chan, a former prime minister.

Lee, who arrived in Beijing on Thursday, delivered a personal letter from the new president to Xi.

China and South Korea have acknowledged that their relations and cooperation on halting North Korea's nuclear weapons program are important. But bilateral relations plunged to their lowest level in many years after Seoul's announcement last summer that it would host the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, or THAAD.

China has strongly demanded that South Korea scrap the deployment of THAAD, believing that the advanced defense system's radar would give the U.S. military the ability to spy on its territory.

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