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South Korea, China to hold talks: Seoul

[SEOUL] South Korean President Moon Jae In will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next week's Apec summit, Seoul said Tuesday, with the neighbours' relationship strained by a US missile defence system.

Beijing has slapped a series of measures on South Korean firms and banned tour groups going to the country in moves seen as economic retaliation for the deployment of the powerful US Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) system.

China sees the installation, which Seoul and Washington say is to defend against missile threats from nuclear-armed North Korea, as a threat to its own military capabilities.

Mr Xi and Mr Moon will have a summit on the sidelines of the APEC gathering in Danang, Vietnam, Seoul's presidential office said.

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"The agreement to hold the summit is the first step... to restore bilateral cooperation and exchanges in all areas to a normal path," said Nam Gwan Pyo, Seoul's deputy director of national security.

It follows a similar meeting in Berlin in July ahead of the G-20 summit.

China is South Korea's biggest trading partner and its measures have heavily impacted some of the South's biggest companies, including retail conglomerate Lotte, which provided a golf course used for the Thaad deployment, and carmaker Hyundai.

A statement from Seoul's foreign ministry said that both sides had "decided to push for the further development of the strategic cooperative partnership" and "agreed to engage in communication on Thaad-related issues".

But it indicated that both were sticking to their stances, saying the "Korean side reiterated its positions that it had publicly stated" while China "hoped that the Korean side would deal with related issues appropriately".

AFP

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