China presses South Korea on THAAD missile system

Moon later spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and agreed a bilateral meeting soon. The conversations were dominated by how to respond to North Korea's rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, which are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. "Moon had to be loyal to the policy line of engagement with North Korea, which is the identity his party represents".

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

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea is preparing for its sixth nuclear test.

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea was preparing for its sixth nuclear test and was working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA, presenting Trump with one of his most pressing security issues.

North Korea says it needs its weapons to defend itself against the United States which it says has pushed the region to the brink of nuclear war.

During his call with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, the two leaders agreed that their countries must not let their hard history hamper co-operation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear programme, Moon's office said.

The Thaad missile system, aimed at intercepting attacks from North Korea, was made operational in South Korea last week.

They agreed to meet face-to-face at the earliest opportunity, and reaffirmed their common goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Yoon added.

During Thursday's call, Xi reaffirmed China's opposition to the THAAD deployment, Moon's office said.

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.

"If Moon tries to reopen the industrial park, it will violate the United Nations resolution on North Korea, which required severing all economic aids that may provide financial support to its nuclear arms programs", Kim said.

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.

Japanese officials have described the call as "positive and meaningful", with the two agreeing to cooperate closely to deal with North Korea.

In the first direct contact between the South Korean and Chinese leaders, Mr Xi explained Beijing's position, said Mr Yoon, the South Korean presidential spokesman, without elaborating.

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

"In South Korea, what defines you as a conservative or progressive candidate comes down to your policy position on foreign policy", James Kim, an worldwide relations expert at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, told Sputnik.

Mr Xi told Mr Moon that 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 in a statement.

Modi, in his 25-minute conversation with Moon, said he has always promoted South Korea as a role model for his own country's economic development, according to Yoon.

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