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

It may welcome a controlled boost in economic ties - or even a bilateral summit in its capital under the right conditions, an idea Moon has already floated - but its primary worry is likely to remain national security.

The election of Moon Jae-in as President of South Korea, who is known to favor a negotiated solution to the crisis on the Korean peninsula, signals motion towards a new policy.

Moon also spoke to Xi about the difficulties faced by some South Korean companies doing business in China facing discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment. But challenging Washington over THAAD might be hard for Moon.

In his first key appointments, Moon named two liberal veterans with ties to the 2000s "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with North Korea to the posts of prime minister and spy chief.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that Moon's advocacy of engagement with North Korea could undercut United States efforts to increase pressure through further isolation and sanctions.

"Putin and Moon agreed on further contacts", the Kremlin said.

He told Xi the ultimate goal of sanctions was to persuade North Korea to engage in dialogue about abolishing its nuclear program. Moon took office instantly, without a transitional period.

More news: N. Korea Belatedly Covers Election of Pres. Moon Jae

Selfies, coffee and a jacket were all that new South Korean President Moon Jae-in needed to powerfully project an image that he's a down-to-earth leader.

Moon told Abe that most Koreans could not accept the agreement, according to the Blue House, while Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Abe told him it was "extremely important" to implement it.

In January, a book by Moon was published where he wrote that South Korea should learn to "say no to America" and become self-reliant in the field of defense capabilities, shifting wartime operational control of the South Korean armed forces from the USA back to Seoul.

Beijing - the North's biggest trade partner and diplomatic protector - is infuriated over the deployment of a U.S. missile defence system in the South, and Seoul is embroiled in a row with fellow U.S. ally Tokyo over wartime history. China retaliated against the decision to allow the system by suspending Korean retail giant Lotte Mart's stores in its territory, banning package tours and imposing stricter rules for sales of Korean cosmetics products. -South Korea free-trade agreement and suggested that South Korea should pay $1 billion for THAAD, in contravention of a bilateral agreement.

"We hope for Russian Federation to play a constructive role in order for North Korea to stop with its nuclear provocations and go the way of denuclearisation", Moon was cited as saying to Putin in the 20-minute conversation.

That said, it is not clear that Seoul and Beijing can immediately get on the same page and put bad blood behind them. "I think that June would also be fine", Kim said.

The settlement, which remains hugely unpopular in South Korea, included cash payments for victims and South Korea agreed to try to resolve a Japanese grievance over a statue of a girl representing victims in front of its Seoul embassy.

  • Adam Floyd