BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday congratulated South Korea’s Moon Jae-In on his presidential election victory, vowing to work with him in the wake of regional tensions.
“I always attach great importance to South Korea and China-ROK (Republic of Korea) relations,” Xi told Moon, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
“China is willing to work with South Korea to maintain the hard-earned outcome of China-ROK relations,” Xi said.
Moon, a left-leaning former human rights lawyer, was elected on Tuesday after a corruption scandal felled his predecessor, against the backdrop of high tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea.
Moon advocates dialogue and reconciliation with the North to defuse the situation and eventually lure it to negotiations.
He has also shown ambivalence over the US missile defense system THAAD, which has been deployed in the South to the fury of China.
Beijing sees it as a threat to the regional security balance.
“On the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect, China will consolidate political mutual trust, properly handle differences, strengthen coordination and cooperation, and promote healthy and stable development of bilateral relations,” Xi told Moon.
“I would like to work with you to make the development of China-ROK relations benefit the two countries and the two peoples,” Xi said.