SK envoys to hold talks in China

Japanese officials have described the first telephone call between new South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe as "positive and meaningful", with the two agreeing to cooperate closely to deal with North Korea.

Moon has advocated a more dovish approach - and he has expressed unhappiness with what looked like a USA race to put a new missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in place before the election.

China has already taken commercial retaliation against South Korean business interests on its soil, but will be hoping Moon follows through on his campaign pledge to review the missile system's deployment if elected.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his country was ready to play a "productive" role in ending the North Korean nuclear issue, also promising to enhance the country's cooperation with South Korea, Seoul's presidential office said.

During the 40-minute conversation, Moon revealed his plans to send separate delegations to Beijing to discuss the dispute and North Korea's nuclear threat.

During the call, Moon told Xi that South Korean people and companies in China "are going through many difficulties", and said he hoped Xi could "pay special attention so the restrictions and sanctions could be smoothly resolved", Yoon said.

A liberal former human-rights lawyer, Mr Moon was sworn in a day earlier and said in his first speech as president that he would immediately address security tensions that have raised fears of war on the Korean peninsula.

"How to respond to North Korea.is an urgent issue". Abe called South Korea one of Japan's most important neighbors.

Chinese state media said China is willing to work hard with all parties for peace, with Beijing acting as Pyongyang's only ally.


"I would think that the [U.S.] administration would like to hear out what he has in mind, how viable that might be, and how it might fit into their policy, which is maximum pressure and engagement", he said.

President Moon replaced the former president Park Geun-Hye who was ousted after a scandal broke last November, leading to her impeachment and ultimately her imprisonment this year.

"I believe Russian Federation is our country's best partner in working to ensure the peace and prosperity of Eurasia", the new South Korean president told Putin, according to his presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Mr Moon has adopted a more conciliatory tone towards the North - backing diplomatic engagement and suggesting he could visit Pyongyang for talks.

If they had, North Korea might have become more dependent on South Korea than on China, in which case US and South Korean leaders would not have to plead constantly with China to rein in the North Korean regime.

South Korea's election body said that Moon had gathered 41 percent of the votes. Still, Moon stressed that the matter shouldn't remain a sticking point for the two nations to pursue "future-oriented relations", Yoon said in a separate briefing. It has also been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.On Thursday, the US director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that North Korea posed "a very significant, potentially existential threat to the United States that has to be addressed".

"If Moon wants to improve Seoul's ties with Beijing, it would not be hard for him to figure out the correct path", Xinhua argues.

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


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