South Korea posted their first win in four outings in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey to keep in contention for a place in the semifinals of the six-nation tournament.
Having earlier secured a point from the 1-1 draw with India, the Koreans won 5-3 to earn a total of four points from four outings so far.
They are now placed third in the preliminary league standings, one point ahead of Pakistan, who have played one game less.
China, for whom this was a crucial outing, pulled two goals back after trailing 1-5, but could not breach the Korean defence enough in the last quarter.
The Chinese are level with Pakistan on three points from three matches. But their last two fixtures are against top-ranked India and defending champions Pakistan.
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Starting on a brisk note, the Koreans scored twice by the third minute of the match with a open play strike from Lee Jung-Jun in the opening minute and a penalty corner conversion by Kim Seong-Kyu in the third.
Yu Xin’s field goal in the sixth minute brought China back, but a 15th minute penalty conversion from Kim Hyeong-Jin gave South Korea a 3-1 lead in the first quarter.
Another penalty corner conversion, this time by Yan Ji-Hun made it 4-1 for the Koreans in the 20th minute.
Kim Jun-Hu stretched the lead to 5-1 with a field goal eight minutes into the second half before China staged another recovery.
Goals from captain Meng Lei, who converted a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute, and Wen Hui’s in open play in the 55th gave respectability to China’s score, but they seemed disappointed not to have given the Koreans a stiffer contest.
China next take on Asian Games gold medallists India.