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NUKEWARS
China's Xi calls for S. Korea ties to get back on track
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 19, 2017


Chinese rappers rap South Korea over THAAD
Beijing (AFP) May 19, 2017 - Sporting baseball caps, baggy pants and sneakers, a crew of young Chinese men strut down a long empty hallway toward an old-school television set bearing the words "NO THAAD" in bright red lettering.

So opens the latest in a string of propaganda videos attempting to meld popular culture with China's political message of the moment.

THAAD -- or Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence -- refers to the US missile defence system deployed in South Korea to counter threats from the North, but which China fears will undermine its own military capabilities.

"I feel nauseous when I think of THAAD," 23-year-old Wang Zixin ("Chuckie"), leader of CD REV, the Sichuan-based rap group behind the video, told AFP.

"It's just like if someone installed a camera on your doorstep -- you would feel annoyed and uneasy."

Released last week on a state-run web portal, the clip came ahead of South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan's visit to Beijing this week.

"I meant that it seems like you never wanna be friendly to me, but some 21st century colonies, some puppet committing felonies," the stars of the "NO THAAD" video rap in a mix of English and Chinese.

"I don't wanna see South Korea with this attitude ... Why not choose us rather than Uncle Sam?"

Wang told AFP that while rap cannot change South Korea's stance on THAAD, such songs can "let Koreans know that China's young people are passionate and tough".

CD REV is no stranger to propaganda rap: the group's patriotic "This is China" video last summer denounced foreign media over a montage of assembly lines, historic sites and bustling street scenes.

Similar efforts surfaced around the Belt and Road summit earlier this week, an international gathering on a massive Chinese-led global trade infrastructure project which the government hyped up with a "bedtime story" series and not one, but two raps.

Tensions between South Korea and China over THAAD have ballooned into economic boycotts, with Chinese tour groups quietly halting visits to the South and supermarkets under the Lotte brand -- the company that penned the THAAD land deal -- losing business in China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a South Korean envoy on Friday he was willing to put relations back on a "normal track" amid tensions over a US anti-missile system deployed on the Korean peninsula.

In an apparent fence-mending move, South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In dispatched his envoy Lee Hae-Chan to China after his election victory last week.

"We're willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track," Xi said as he greeted Lee in Beijing.

"Your visit to China to step up the communication on important issues related to bilateral relations... shows President Moon and his administration have attached high importance to our ties," Xi said.

For his part, Lee said Moon asked him to express his "gratitude" to Xi for his message of congratulations after the election.

Ties between the two countries have soured in recent months over the deployment of the powerful Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) shield in South Korea, which Beijing sees as a threat to its own military capability.

THAAD is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea, but China fears it will upset the regional security balance.

Lee met separately with other senior Chinese officials, who had more forceful words for the South Korean visitor.

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, called on Seoul on Friday to "respect China's major concerns and properly handle the issue of the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system," according to the official Xinhua new agency.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Lee that Seoul must "remove the obstacles that have been placed on the road to good relations between our two countries".

Left-leaning Moon and Xi spoke on the phone last week and both agreed that denuclearising the North was a "common goal" between them, Moon's spokesman said.

Tensions have been running high in the region, with Pyongyang launching what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea.

NUKEWARS
China urges S.Korea to 'remove obstacles' to good ties
Beijing (AFP) May 18, 2017
China's foreign minister urged South Korea's new government on Thursday to remove "obstacles" to good relations amid Chinese anger at the US deployment of an anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula. Greeting South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan in Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bilateral relations have made immense progress over the years. "But this year we've had som ... read more

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