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S Korea's new Prez sworn in, to work for peace

12 Mai 2017

Mr Moon said in his first speech as President that he would immediately begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean peninsula, and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease the row over a USA missile defence system being deployed in the South.

Ahead of the swearing-in, Moon met with leading lawmakers of Liberty Korea - which advocates a hard line on the North and has repeatedly accused him of being a Pyongyang sympathiser who would "hand the whole country to the North once elected".

But the two conservative presidents who succeeded Kim and Roh abandoned the sunshine policy, instead promoting direct and multilateral sanctions to punish North Korea for its nuclear ambitions. It said Moon told Abe that it was emotionally hard for South Koreans to accept the agreement. I will go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo.

South Korea's first liberal leader in a decade, Moon also said he'll "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced USA missile-defense system in southern South Korea.

A big challenge will be U.S. President Donald Trump, who has proven himself unconventional in his approach to North Korea, swinging between intense pressure and threats and offers to talk.

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Mr. Moon's comments appeared aimed at easing fears that his new liberal government and its eagerness for diplomatic and economic engagement with North Korea may create a rift with Washington.

Close cooperation between Japan, the United States and South Korea should be the basis when dealing with North Korea. "I am begging for your cooperation". Abe also said he is hoping to meet with Moon at the earliest possible date to exchange views of mutual interest.

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China attaches great importance to its relations with South Korea and is willing to work with South Korea to jointly safeguard the hard-earned achievements in bilateral relations, Xi stressed.

Park's decision to introduce the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, a US missile defense shield, has complicated situation on the Peninsula and across the wider north-east Asia. China has also opposed the system, saying its radar allows for monitoring in its territory.

The conversations were dominated by how to respond to North Korea's rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

The deployment of THAAD was agreed a year ago by South Korea's previous administration after North Korea conducted a long-range rocket launch that put an object into space.

"I still believe Moon Jae-in faces major difficulties in reversing the THAAD deployment, or even making any kind of modifications", Zhao says.

During Thursday's call, Xi reaffirmed China's opposition to the THAAD deployment, Moon's office said. South Korea plays a crucial role in regional stability, it said. But Moon and his supporters nonetheless find it regrettable that conservative South Korean presidents since Lee Myung-bak did not maintain the Sunshine Policy, as Kohl had done with Ostpolitik.

Park, the member of parliament heading the delegation, has been mentioned in South Korean media as a strong candidate to be Moon's special envoy to China.