October 26, 2017 11:57
President Moon Jae-in sent a congratulatory message to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday on his re-election as the head of the Chinese Communist Party.
"I sincerely congratulate you that the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has been successfully held, and that you have been re-elected," Moon said. "I hope to meet with you in the near future and closely work together to further develop the Korea-China relationship that just celebrated the 25th anniversary... to promote peace and development in the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region."
Seoul and Beijing are working informally to resolve a spat that erupted when the U.S. deployed a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery in Korea.
According to a government source, the two sides are discussing preparing a statement to be announced at the APEC meeting next month.
China fears that the THAAD battery's powerful radar will be used to spy on its military activities, and has imposed an unofficial boycott of Korean goods and services.
One diplomatic source said, "Korea had hoped to hold a summit first and then come up with a joint statement including efforts to resolve the THAAD issue, but the Chinese side is adamant something should be done about the issue before a summit, suggesting that Seoul either withdraw the THAAD system or admit that it infringes on China's key interests."
A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official, asked by the Chosun Ilbo about the talks, said, "There are several more mountains to climb," but declined to comment further.
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