Abe, Moon discuss North Korea, 'comfort women' issue

Friday, 12 May, 2017

Selfies, coffee and a jacket were all that new South Korean President Moon Jae-in needed to powerfully project an image that he's a down-to-earth leader.

Regarding THAAD, President Moon reportedly asked Xi to consider easing the restrictions China has placed on South Korean companies in the country.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in told his Chinese counterpart that he plans to send a special delegation to Beijing for talks on North Korea and a contentious USA missile-defense shield, raising the prospect of a thaw in relations between the Asian neighbors.

The South Korean statement said Trump said North Korea's nuclear problem was hard, but one that could be resolved.

The TV programme also accused the U.S. of speeding up the deployment before the conservative government in South Korea handed over power.

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.

China's Xi Jinping called the new South Korean leader to congratulate him on his election this week, Moon's press secretary Yoon Young-chan said at a press briefing. China has been upset by the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system that was approved by Moon's conservative predecessor as a hedge against North Korea, placing Seoul in a hard spot between its closest military ally in Washington and its largest trading partner in Beijing. His appointment requires parliamentary approval. Moon also begins his term facing several domestic challenges, including the aftermath of the huge corruption scandal that saw his predecessor Park Geun-Hye impeached and swept from power.

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

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), meanwhile, chose the day after Moon's election to announce it had established a Korea Mission Centre "to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea".

Mr Moon named former journalist Lee Nak Yon, a four-term lawmaker, as prime minister - a largely coordinating role.

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.

"I want to appropriately manage the Japan-South Korea relations, including the bilateral agreement", Abe was quoted as saying.

Mr Moon will have a hard diplomatic path to tread in his approach to North Korea, which dreams of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S. and has vast artillery forces trained on Seoul. The THAAD is increasingly opposed among many South Koreans, particularly based on Trump's calls for them to pay for it.

"This is the great victory for the great people who have been with me to build a just country, united country and a country where principle and common sense works, Moon said".