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World leaders congratulate Moon Jae-in on election win

15 Mai 2017

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, can not rely on his resounding election victory for long.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which would intercept attacks from North Korea, became operational in South Korea last week.

In a December interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, Moon said North Korea would be the first country he visited if elected president, and that he would explain his reason for doing so to the U.S, Japan and China.

A separate delegation will be designated and sent in the near future to deal with either of the two issues that Park will not have covered, the sources said. Trump has called for South Korea to pay the USA $1 billion for a system the US has always described as in America's vital security interests.

Moon, whose victory capped one of the most turbulent political stretches in the nation's recent history and set up its first liberal rule in a decade, assumed presidential duties early in the morning after the National Election Commission finished counting and declared him victor of the special election necessitated by the ousting of conservative Park Geun-hye. He delivered his heartfelt congratulations to President Moon Jae-in, and added that he hopes to meet with him soon to boost cooperation between India and South Korea.

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

Moon was firm during the campaign that his administration would review the Thaad issue, and said its deployment should be approved by the National Assembly - a sharp departure from the attitude of the previous administration.

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Moon is expected to have his first conversation with Trump in a phone call on Wednesday, Yonhap news agency said, citing unnamed Seoul diplomats. He had promised during his campaign to renegotiate it.

Moon needs to establish a different form of political communication, both with parliament and the people. The general told the new president the military was maintaining solid readiness against potential military provocation from across the border.

Despite Chinese anger at North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state's most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea's heightened threat could change Moon's calculus once in power.

Moon took 41.1 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election, far ahead of Hong Joon-Pyo of Park's Liberty Korea party, on 24.0 percent, and centrist Ahn Cheol-Soo on 21.4 percent.

Moon also received similar congratulatory calls from Japanese and Indian leaders on Thursday.