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Moon, Xi overcome 'awkwardness' over THAAD through summit: official

All Headlines 14:27 December 17, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping "completely overcame the awkwardness" stemming from the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system through their summit last week, a senior presidential official said Sunday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that the summit laid important groundwork for resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula as Moon and Xi agreed on four major principles in dealing with the situation, including a peaceful resolution of the problem.

"I think the two leaders completely overcame the awkwardness over the issue of THAAD," the official said, referring to the U.S. anti-missile system deployed in South Korea. "Even though the THAAD issue isn't resolved completely, the frequency and intensity with which China raised the issue became markedly lower."

Moon, Xi overcome 'awkwardness' over THAAD through summit: official - 1

On Thursday, Moon and Xi spent about five hours together talking about North Korea, bilateral relations and other issues. But Xi mentioned THAAD only once throughout the meetings, officials said.

The two leaders also agreed on four basic principles in dealing with North Korea's nuclear threat: no war on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearization of the peninsula, a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue and improvement in inter-Korean relations.

"We went over another mountain through this summit," the presidential official said, portraying diplomatic challenges Seoul faces in its diplomacy as mountains. "A few more mountains lie ahead in order for us to completely overcome the grave security situation we face. We will continue our efforts until that comes while sticking firmly to our basic principles."

The official also stressed the personal bonds Moon forged with Xi.

"I was able to witness (the two leaders) way closer as they met for a third time after meetings in Germany's Berlin in July and in Vietnam's Danang last month," the official said. "In particular, they were able to communicate easily with each other as they have the same philosophy of putting people ahead of anything else."

With regard to the THAAD issue, Moon put forward a four-character Chinese idiom calling for thinking from each other's perspective to resolve differences as he proposed to narrow differences between the two countries in a gradual manner, the official said.

Xi said in response that thinking from each other's position is the best way to move relations between the two countries forward, according to the official.

The official also rejected criticism that Moon received poor treatment during the visit. Some local newspapers and broadcasters raised such criticism, saying that a deputy minister-level Chinese official greeted Moon at the airport, and Moon had meals with Chinese officials only twice during the visit.

"I hope people will be able to have a detailed look at the achievements from the state visit," he said.

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