UPDATE : 2018.7.18 WED 17:10
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S. Korea, China agree to push for Moon's state visit to Beijing in Dec.

South Korea and China have agreed to push for President Moon Jae-in's state visit to Beijing next month as the two nations seek to mend ties, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

The agreement came as South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday in Beijing to fine-tune a summit between their leaders in December.

"Both sides shared the view that President Moon's visit to China will be an important occasion to strengthen and develop bilateral ties," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Seoul-Beijing relations have been frayed for more than year as China strongly opposed the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, but they are now being mended.

Seoul and Washington said the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is only aimed at countering North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. But China claimed that the move hampers its security interests and took what is deemed economic retaliatory measures against South Korean firms.

But Seoul and Beijing announced an agreement to mend ties in late October after Chinese President Xi Jinping cemented his grip on power during the Chinese Communist Party congress.

"The two sides shared the view that they will faithfully implement the agreement and make efforts to develop their ties into practical, strategic cooperative partnership on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations," the ministry said.

Kang and Wang also reaffirmed that North Korea's nuclear issue should be peacefully resolved through dialogue, it said.

"They agreed to employ all available diplomatic means to make an absence of North Korea's provocations continue. They also decided to closely cooperate to make the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics slated for next year a 'Peace Olympics,'" the ministry said.

This photo, taken on Nov. 22, 2017, shows South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi shaking hands ahead of their talks in Beijing. (Yonhap).

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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