South Korea urges 'parallel' talks, sanctions to rein in North Korea

Delia Watkins
May 12, 2017

During their conversation, both leaders agreed to pursue the goal of denuclearisation of Korean peninsula.

Moon did not express a negative view of the 2015 "comfort women" agreement, the official told reporters.

While taking the oath of office Wednesday, Moon said he's open to visiting North Korea under the right conditions.

Special envoys to Russia, Japan and the United States will reportedly be the ruling party members Song Young-gil and Moon Hee-sang as well as the former head of a local cable TV channel JTBC, Hong Seok-hyun, respectively.

He named former journalist Lee Nak-Yon, a four-term lawmaker, as Prime Minister - a largely coordinating role and appointed a new head of the National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, who played a key role in preparing the past two inter-Korea summits of 2000 and 2007.

"President Moon said he understands China's interest in the THAAD deployment and its concerns, and said he hopes the two countries can swiftly get on with communication to further improve each other's understanding", Yoon told a briefing.

China's president has set out his opposition to the deployment of a USA missile system, in his first discussion with the new South Korean leader.

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China says the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) undermines its security as its powerful radar can probe deep into its territory.

Japan has been concerned that Moon will take a tough line on feuds stemming from its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula and could fray ties at a time when cooperation over North Korea is vital.

Moon's conversation with Xi came a day after he spoke with President Donald Trump, who in the phone call congratulated Moon on his election win and invited him to visit the White House. The first part of the system became operational early this month, and the full capabilities are expected to be set up by the end of the year.

China says the system does little to curb the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which Pyongyang has been pressing ahead with in defiance of US pressure and United Nations sanctions.

Moon also raised the issue of economic retaliation against South Korean firms in China, Yoon said. The industrial park was shut down by the South Korean government in February 2016, in response to a ballistic missile test by North Korea.

Moon said he will send a delegation to Beijing to discuss both North Korea and THAAD.

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