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China, South Korea Bury THAAD Hatchet, Focus On North's Nuclear Threat

China agreed to ease tensions with a U.S. ally in the face of North Korea's saber-rattling. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system — commonly called THAAD — inside South Korea.

That led to economic retaliation from China, which views the THAAD system as a threat. South Korean businesses were boycotted, tourism decreased and economic growth lagged.

On Tuesday, Seoul and Beijing agreed to normalize relations "as soon as possible." 

China's president, Xi Jinping, is in a stronger position to act on this issue, having consolidated his domestic power earlier this month. And South Korean President Moon Jae-in took steps to ease Chinese fears over the THAAD system. An official said the South Korean government wouldn't seek more THAAD deployments. 

President Donald Trump's trip to Asia is only a few days away, and the North Korea issue is sure to follow him at each stop. 

SEE MORE: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Vows 'Countermeasures' Against North Korea

To be clear, China still isn't happy about the THAAD system being so close to its borders.

But South Korea has repeatedly said the THAAD system is purely defensive. Officials said South Korea wouldn't enter a military alliance with the U.S. and Japan, a reassurance that China's influence in the region wouldn't be challenged. 

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