Moon Seeks to Mend China Ties Over Thaad in Call With Xi

Fernando Stephens
May 19, 2017

Tuesday-the day he was elected-Moon announced that "under the right conditions" he could open discussions with Pyongyang, a stance some believe could put the USA ally at odds with the Trump administration as it considers military intervention in the region.

The call from Xi to congratulate Moon on his inauguration the day before was the first of its kind from a Chinese leader to his new South Korean counterpart, the statement said.

On Friday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin told Moon in a phone call he was ready to play a "constructive role" in resolving North Korea's nuclear threat, South Korea's presidential office said.

He was elected following a corruption scandal that saw his conservative predecessor Park Geun-Hye impeached.

It said Moon told Abe that it was emotionally hard for South Koreans to accept the agreement.

Beijing also has its own issues with Seoul. Moon's aides say he will commute from his home for the first few days as workers finish furnishing the Blue House residential space for him.

Moon has made no qualms about the fact he is keen on reviving the "sunshine policy", implemented by former South Korean leaders to bridge the failing relationship between the two nations in the Korean peninsula.

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South Korean activists hold a banner during a rally against the plan to deploy the US -built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, near the USA embassy in Seoul, July 11, 2016.

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

The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket. Moon has said he wants to review that decision. He also stated he will "sincerely negotiate" with the U.S. and China over the deployment of the United States of America anti-missile THAAD system.

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

Unless North Korea stops the development of its nuclear weapons and starts the process of denuclearization, there's little room for Moon to lift existing economic sanctions and initiate engagement with its neighbor in the north, including reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex that the previous administration said was funneling hard currency to the regime in Pyongyang.

The two leaders said they looked forward to meeting at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July.

Xi told Moon South Korea and China should respect each other's concerns, set aside differences, seek common ground and handle disputes appropriately, China's foreign ministry said.

Other reports by BadHub

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