A senior Chinese official said Friday that relations between China and South Korea are "very important," underlining the need for the Asian neighbors to keep communicating with each other on issues of mutual concern.
Chinese State Councilor for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi made the remarks in a meeting with Lee Hae-chan, a visiting special envoy sent by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Lee is in Beijing to deliver Moon's letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping and discuss summit talks. He is expected to meet Xi later.
Yang said that Lee's trip to Beijing illustrates how much emphasis President Moon is placing on the relations between the two countries.
Yang called his meeting with Lee an important opportunity for Beijing-Seoul communication, saying that China is willing to keep exchanging views with South Korea on issues of mutual concern.
Lee, who served as prime minister under the Roh Moo-hyun government from 2004-2006, said that Moon told him to have a sufficient amount of communication with the Chinese side, citing the quite tough situation facing the two countries.
Lee's visit to China, which started on Thursday, came amid Beijing's continued protest against South Korea's decision last year to allow a U.S. missile defense system called THAAD to be installed on its soil.
China has taken what appear to be retaliatory steps against South Korean companies in diverse areas, apparently in a bid to put pressure on South Korea to withdraw its plan for the THAAD installation, which it sees as a threat to its own strategic security interests. (Yonhap)