South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan, left, passes on a hand-written letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, May 19, 2017. A senior foreign policy adviser to Chinese President Xi stressed the importance of relations with South Korea on Friday as the two countries attempt to mend a rift in ties over the deployment of a U.S. missile-defense system to guard against North Korean threats. (Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)

China's Xi says willing to help end rift with South Korea

May 19, 2017 - 4:43 am

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he's willing to help ties with South Korea return to a "normal track" amid a rift over Seoul's deployment of a high-tech U.S. missile-defense system to guard against North Korean threats.

Xi's remarks came in a meeting Friday with South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan, who was dispatched to Beijing by South Korea's new president on a mission to reopen contacts and seek a way out of the current impasse, which has hit South Korean businesses hard.

Chinese official media quoted Xi as saying China is committed to resolving any issues through dialogue and coordination.

Ties between the countries have plunged over the deployment in South Korea of a U.S. missile defense system called THAAD.

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