UPDATE : 2018.9.24 MON 18:27
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S. Korean president heads to Chongqing as part of China trip

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday left for China's southwestern city of Chongqing, the second and last leg of his four-day state visit.

The trip follows Moon's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing for their third bilateral summit.

The presidents reaffirmed their resolve to peacefully end North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs through dialogue under what they called four basic principles in dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue that included preventing war on the Korean Peninsula under any circumstance.

Moon's trip to China followed the North's latest missile provocation, staged Nov. 29, that marked a resumption of its provocations after a 75-day hiatus. Pyongyang staged 11 missile tests since Moon took office in May, and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The South Korean leader also sought to repair his country's ties with China in a series of meetings with top Chinese leaders, including Prime Minister Li Keqiang and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Zhang Dejiang.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at a signing ceremony held shortly after their bilateral summit in Beijing on Dec. 14, 2017. (Yonhap)

Seoul-Beijing relations remained at the lowest ebb amid a Chinese protest against the deployment of the THAAD U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

The countries agreed to put their relationship back on a normal track in a joint statement issued Oct. 31, but many believe their bilateral ties have yet to be fully repaired.

Moon's trip to Chongqing apparently seeks to highlight the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two countries as the city houses the former office of South Korea's provisional government that operated in China during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule of Korea.

While meeting with Xi in Beijing, the South Korean president also expressed his condolences over the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, where the Japanese military killed tens of thousands of Chinese people.

"The day I arrived in China, Dec. 13, was the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. South Koreans share the deep sense of pain and agony that the Chinese experienced in this tragic incident. I offer my condolences to those who were killed in the tragic event and those who still suffer from the incident," he said in his special lecture at Peking University in Beijing earlier in the day.

While in Chongqing, Moon will visit the former office of his country's provisional government, and a production facility of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co.

He is also scheduled to meet Chen Miner, governor and Communist Party chief of Chongqing, according to Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae.

The South Korean president will return home Saturday. (Yonhap)

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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