Moon's Rise To Power In S Korea Causes Worries, Hopes Abroad

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office said Thursday he plans to send a delegation to Beijing to discuss North Korea's nuclear program and China's concerns about a USA missile defense system being deployed in South Korea.

South Korea's first liberal leader in a decade, Mr Moon also said he would "sincerely negotiate" with the us, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced U.S. missile-defence system in southern South Korea.

China sees the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, as a threat to its own security and will be hoping Moon follows through on his campaign pledge to review the system's deployment if elected.

"The resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue must be comprehensive and sequential, with pressure and sanctions used in parallel with negotiations", Moon's spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, quoted Moon as telling Xi.

During Thursday's call, Xi reaffirmed China's opposition to the THAAD deployment, Moon's office said.

He and Xi agreed to exchange special envoys soon and Moon said he also planned to send a delegation to Beijing to discuss the North Korean nuclear problem and the THAAD deployment, according to Yoon.

U.S. officials have said they see no value in resuming worldwide talks with North Korea until Pyongyang has made clear it is committed to denuclearisation.

Putin was the last leader of those countries, save North Korea, to call Moon this week to congratulate him on his election.

"South Korea's trade volume with China is bigger than its volume with the U.S. and Japan combined".

Although Ms Park's ouster was painful, it also demonstrated the resilience of South Korea's democracy.

New long-range missile can carry heavy nuclear warhead, North Korea says
While North Korean's arsenal of missiles is becoming clearer, there is less certainty about how developed its nuclear program is. While Trump has said he'd be "honored" to talk Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility.

The new president said in his inauguration speech that he would "do everything I can to build peace on the Korean Peninsula".

"While it will be important to resolve the issues peacefully and diplomatically, holding a dialogue for the objective of a dialogue would be meaningless", Abe said, referring to Pyongyang's ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests.

Moon was part of the South's last liberal government, which pursued a "Sunshine policy" of reconciliation and dialogue with the North, and is widely expected to shift away Park's hardline approach.

While Moon was likely helped by the corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye, the darkest shadow had to be the growing tensions between the United States and North Korea. Moon's remark indicates his willingness to renegotiate the agreement, observers said.

"President Moon said the THAAD issue can be resolved when there is no further provocation by North Korea".

Beijing opposes the system, arguing that its radar systems allow the US and South Korea to spy on nearby Chinese military, and has imposed unofficial sanctions on South Korean companies operating in China.

During his campaign, many conservatives anxious that Moon's election would cause problems with Washington, Seoul's most important ally, because of his engagement policy on North Korea would clash with Trump's push to maximize pressures on the country. "President Moon accepted the invitation", the White House said.

Relations with Japan have also been rocky despite an agreement reached between the two governments in 2015 regarding reparations for South Korean women forced into sexual slavery during Japan's colonial rule.

Along with his promises to tackle serious global issues, Moon said he would cut ties with South Korea's conglomerates and leave the office uncorrupted.

South Korea and the United States began deploying the THAAD system in March and it has since become operational.

  • Megan Austin