Moon's rise to power in S Korea causes worries, hopes abroad

Pablo Tucker
May 15, 2017

"President Trump and President Moon agreed to continue to strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea alliance and to deepen the enduring friendship between our two countries".

A prompt resumption of talks is necessary given the slew of outstanding issues between the two countries - including North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the deployment of the US missile defense system THAAD to South Korea against that threat - which Beijing is deeply opposed to.

South Korea's won advanced in Asian trade yesterday as Moon Jae-in's landslide presidential election win helped investors look past fresh warnings of a nuclear test from the North.

The call lasted 30 minutes and was the first conversation Moon Jae-in had with a world leader since his inauguration on Wednesday, Yonhap reported.

Moon has long said the next South Korean government should review the Thaad deployment and decide to allow it only after seeking China's understanding.

Talking to reporters, Suh endorsed Moon's call for a summit meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, although saying it would be hard for such a meeting to take place soon, considering the tension over the North's nuclear program. I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula - if needed, I will fly immediately to Washington.

Since the beginning of previous year the North - which says it needs atomic weapons to defend itself against invasion - has mounted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches.

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.

"I am confident President Moon will do what he can to promote such a deal", he said. What decision Moon makes on THAAD's deployment will be keenly watched in the region and beyond.

On North Korean problems, Abe said he hopes to closely cooperate with Moon in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Moon said he also hopes to meet Xi at an early date and Xi formally invited Moon to visit Beijing, the statement said.

The protest was lodged by the recently revived Foreign Affairs Committee of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, which said the US House of Representatives was "obsessed" with a sense of disapproval and warned it of dire consequences.

Moon's victory reverses more than a decade of conservative rule that has seen strong ties with the USA, which maintains about 28,500 servicemembers in South Korea.

Moon, a former human rights lawyer, won a resounding victory after his right-wing predecessor, Park Geun-Hye, was ousted following months of scandal, protests and political turmoil implicating some of the south's most high-profile oligarchs, including the head of Samsung Group.

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