China appeals to SKorea to help 'protect free trade'

June 29, 2018 - 6:20 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, has appealed to Korean business leaders to help "protect free trade" in Beijing's latest effort to recruit allies for its escalating dispute with Washington.

Li told visiting CEOs on Friday that Beijing was willing to "further open up" and promote economic globalization.

They were the latest targets of a Chinese charm offensive that also has been aimed at securing European support against U.S. President Donald Trump's threats of tariff hikes in the dispute over trade and technology.

Chinese relations with Seoul are strained after Beijing destroyed retailer Lotte's business in China last year in retaliation for its sale of land to install an anti-missile system.

Li said, "China is willing to work together with Korea to protect free trade."

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