Korea's new president to White House; N. Korea calls for 'new chapter'

Elias Hubbard
May 13, 2017

South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in broke eight months of top-level silence between Seoul and Beijing today, placing a phone call to Xi Jinping that offered an emerging glimpse of his North Korea strategy.

North Korean state media reported the election of the South's new left-leaning president Moon Jae-In after a two-day delay, but at unusual length.

It quotes Moon as saying he's aware of Chinese worries about the system and saying he hopes the two countries would have more understanding on each other's positions on the system.

Korea Economic Institute analyst Troy Stangarone told VOA that Moon has stated he would only negotiate with North Korea after consulting with the United States.

North Korea on Thursday urged Moon's government to end what it considers confrontational policies, including joint drills with the US military.

Beijing also has its own issues with Seoul.

The report also said North Korea is using military provocations to bolster the authority of supreme leader Kim Jong-un and perpetuate his rule. Moon accepted the invitation at an "early date" but no specific time was set, according to a statement.

The special election was necessitated by the ousting of conservative Park Geun-hye, whose downfall and jailing on corruption charges marked one of the most turbulent stretches in the nation's recent political history.

Xi told Moon that China has always upheld the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which are in everyone's interests, according to the state television report.

Moon also called for "dialogue along with sanctions and pressure" on the North to push Pyongyang to talks, Yoon said.

Beijing's displeasure over THAAD has reportedly been felt by South Korean businesses, particularly Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate that signed off on a land swap deal with the government to provide a site for the THAAD launch systems in late February.

In the 25-minute conversation, the two leaders agreed to meet in the near future and cooperate closely in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters.

The deployment of THAAD was agreed by former President Park Geun-hye's administration a year ago.

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.

Moon later spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and agreed a bilateral meeting soon.

In his inaugural address Wednesday, South Korea's president said he would consider visiting Pyongyang under the right conditions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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