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

Cheryl Sanders
May 12, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday hinted at possibly scrapping an agreement with Tokyo over Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, insisting that most South Koreans could not accept the deal reached by the former Seoul government.

Trump also announced plans to send a team of senior advisors to South Korea to discuss the matter of Moon's USA visit and said Moon would be welcomed with respectful treatment as a foreign head of state, the Blue House said. Moon advocates a less confrontational policy.

China sees the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, as a threat to its own security and will be hoping Moon follows through on his campaign pledge to review the system's deployment if elected.

Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station aired two pictures showing what were described as Thaad components installed at a golf course in South Korea's Seongju county during a talk show, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Conservative critics have anxious Moon's rise to power might cause a friction with Trump, who wants to increase pressure on North Korea with the help of China, the North's largest trading partner and aid benefactor.

Turning to regional issues, Moon and Xi agreed to work together in denuclearizing the communist North. As he took the oath of office Wednesday, Moon said he was open to visiting Pyongyang under the right conditions to discuss its nuclear programme. The two heads of state held a telephone conversation on May 11, 2017, as the Japanese prime minister sought to congratulate Moon on his recent election.

Japan has been concerned that Moon will take a tough line on feuds stemming from the bitter legacy of its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean peninsula and could fray ties at a time when cooperation on North Korea is vital.

South Korea's relationship with China has been tense in recent months due to the deployment of the US missile defense system THAAD, which China sees as compromising its military interests.

China says the system does little to curb the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it has been pressing ahead with in defiance of USA pressure and United Nations sanctions.

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.

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

Xi told Moon that China has always upheld the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which are in everyone's interests, according to the state television report.

China has also denied it is doing anything to retaliate against South Korean businesses.

Other reports by iNewsToday