S Korea's new leader discusses N Korea, defense system with China's Xi

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20 May, 2017

Moon also sounded unhappy with Trump's strategy of aggressively pursuing cooperation on North Korea with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying South Korea should "take the lead on matters in the Korean Peninsula" rather than "take the back seat and watch discussions between the USA and China".

China has rigorously objected to the deployment of the USA missile defense system in South Korea, saying it destabilized regional security and did little to curb any threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which are in defiance of U.S. pressure and United Nations sanctions.

He told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday the resolution of the North Korea issue "must be comprehensive and sequential, with pressure and sanctions used in parallel with negotiations".

SOUTH Korea's President Moon Jae-in is to send special envoys to China to discuss issues concerning a USA missile defense system and North Korea.

North Korea, as of Wednesday afternoon, had yet to comment officially on Moon's election, but experts say there's no reason for it to dislike his win.

South Korean internet users on Thursday shared photos of Moon waving off a presidential employee and taking off his own jacket at a luncheon.

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The two quickly got down to the major issues at hand, including the deployment of key components of the THAAD battery last month, as well as North Korea's nuclear weapons program. While it is easy for Americans to sabre-rattle for war with North Korea from the safety of half the world away, it is South Koreans who are the most in danger.

Domestically, Moon begins his term facing multiple challenges, including the aftermath of the huge corruption scandal that saw his conservative predecessor Park Geun-Hye impeached and swept him to power, but leaves the country bitterly divided.

Moon has said the decision had been made hastily and his government should have the final say on whether to deploy it.

USA officials have expressed concern that Moon's advocacy of engagement with North Korea could undercut United States efforts to increase pressure through further isolation and sanctions. He even said he would be willing to meet with the North's leader Kim Jong-un if the conditions were right. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the United Nations the USA wants to bring North Korea to "its senses, not to its knees", according to the Newsweek report.

He took office just one day after the presidential election because South Korea has had an acting president since last December. China has vigorously opposed the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, saying it threatens Chinese security and will do nothing to resolve tensions with North Korea. The call to Moon took place just a day after he took office and comes amid increased regional tensions over North Korea as well as the deployment of a USA missile-defense shield in South Korea.

China hopes South Korea's government attaches importance to its concerns and takes real steps to promote the healthy and stable development of ties, Xi said.


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