Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Korea's Moon to send delegation to China amid frayed ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos Switzerland in January RUBEN SPRICH REUTERS Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos Switzerland in January
Christy Curtis | 18 May, 2017, 11:09

U.S. President Donald Trump has responded to the new South Korean president's advocacy of talks with North Korea by saying he does not oppose discussions, but reiterated that the circumstances must be right, according to a transcript of an NBC interview.

China has rigorously objected to the deployment of the USA missile defense system in South Korea, saying it destabilized regional security and did little to curb any threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which are in defiance of U.S. pressure and United Nations sanctions.

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.

Many see Moon's manner as a refreshing break from his disgraced, jailed predecessor Park Geun-hye, whom critics saw as aloof and autocratic.

During the phone conversation, the two leaders discussed a broad range of bilateral issues, including the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK's nuclear program, Yoon said.

Meanwhile, North Korea sent a rare letter of protest to the US House of Representatives on Friday warning that a new package of tougher sanctions would only spur its development of nuclear weapons, North Korea's state media reported. USA officials have said they see no value in resuming global talks with North Korea until Pyongyang has made clear it is committed to denuclearization. "There will be a need to demonstrate specific actions that will lead to the denuclearization of North Korea".

Taking the oath of office in Seoul on Wednesday, Moon said he will further bolster the alliance and "immediately fly to Washington if necessary" for the sake of peace on the Korean Peninsula. "A candidate from the Saenuri Party was elected president in the South with a razor-thin margin", according to the 2012 dispatch that was read in full.

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

Abe and Moon agreed to meet soon, and Xi invited the South Korean leader to Beijing. Earlier in the day, Moon spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Blue House said. Instead, he only told Abe that there are "cautious opinions" circulating in public about the accord, which was signed to put the issue of comfort women to rest "finally and irreversibly", the official said.

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