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

James Marshall
May 13, 2017

Beijing, meanwhile, likely hopes to win big concessions from Moon, and Tokyo worries he'll upset a delicate arrangement meant to settle the two countries' hard past. Moon's Democratic Party said he was briefed on the status of the North Korean military and South Korea's military readiness.

Even so, North Korea's relations with Moon's conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, were extremely bad, so it is nearly certain to be cautious about any Moon proposals for increased engagement. "If the conditions are right, I will go to Pyongyang".

He also said trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo is vital to solving the North Korean nuclear issue.

The new South Korean president faces the daunting task of finding a way to restore relations without upsetting worldwide partners such as the USA, given Pyongyang's self-description as a nuclear weapon state.

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 USA pressure and United Nations sanctions.

Moon was part of the liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration involved in the last inter-Korean summit of 2007, although almost a decade of conservative rule in Seoul has seen ties sour to the point of zero cooperation amid persistent North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

The offer of shuttle diplomacy by Moon Jae-in came shortly after he was sworn in as president after winning a snap election triggered by the impeachment of former conservative leader Park Geun-hye. Pyongyang also named "a guy surnamed Han" in the alleged plot, who they said taught the assassin how to enlist accomplices.

US officials have said they see no value in resuming global talks with North Korea under current circumstances and that Pyongyang must make clear it is committed to denuclearization.

Moon explained the difficulties faced by South Korean companies that are doing business in China and asked for Xi's "special attention" to ease those concerns, Yoon said.

"Mr. Moon Jae-in on his election as the new President of the Republic of Korea [ROK]", presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

An immediate source of friction with Washington is a potent antimissile system the United States has deployed in South Korea, which the liberals opposed.

Han Song Ryol, the vice foreign minister, called a meeting of foreign diplomats in Pyongyang on Thursday to outline the North's allegation that the CIA and South Korea's intelligence agency bribed and coerced a North Korean man into joining in the assassination plot, which the North's Ministry of State Security has suggested was thwarted last month.

Beijing says the system threatens China's own security because its radar system is able to peer deep into the country's northeast and monitor its flights and missile launches.

It has taken a series of moves against South Korean firms seen as economic retaliation.

"These biochemical substances were to be provided with the assistance of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. while the South Korean Intelligence Service was going to provide necessary support and funding for this attempt at assassination on our supreme leader", he added.

At the same time, the South is embroiled in disputes with China over a U.S. missile defense system, and former colonial occupier Japan over wartime history.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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