North Korea missile threat: THAAD defence could be axed by Moon Jae
North Korea missile threat: THAAD defence could be axed by Moon Jae
12 May, 2017, 03:51
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in told his Chinese counterpart that he plans to send a special delegation to Beijing for talks on North Korea and a contentious USA missile-defense shield, raising the prospect of a thaw in relations between the Asian neighbors.
Moon's softer stance on North Korea could create friction with Washington, which has swung from threats of military action to hints of dialogue as it seeks to formulate a policy under President Donald Trump.
"Just spoke with my friend President Moon Jae-in". The system has angered Beijing, which says its powerful radars allow Washington to spy on its own military operations.
In his speech, Moon, 64, also pledged to sever what he described as the collusive ties between business and government that have plagued many of South Korea's family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol, and vowed to be incorruptible.
In response, Moon said he would like to exercise wisdom to resolve various issues so the two East Asian neighbors can develop a good relationship. "If the conditions are right, I will go to Pyongyang".
"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it".
Many see Moon's manner as a refreshing break from his disgraced, jailed predecessor Park Geun-hye, whom critics saw as aloof and autocratic.
North Korea's heightened threat could change Moon's calculus once in power.
He later visited a national cemetery in Seoul. Moon also visited Takeshima last July.
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Whether the U.S. is deliberately manipulating events or not, Moon Jae-in is in a hard situation.
The White House congratulated Moon, saying it looked forward to working with him to strengthen the longstanding U.S.
The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (Thaad) in the South has angered China, Seoul's major trading partner, which sees the U.S. system's powerful radar as a threat to its national security. The polls will close in a few hours and doubtlessly Moon Jae-in, who led the polls for months now, will be proclaimed the victor. He will serve the typical single five-year term.
He won 41.1% of the vote in Tuesday's election, ahead of Hong Joon-Pyo of the Liberty Korea party, on 24%, and centrist Ahn Cheol-Soo on 21.4%.
Many of those legacies dated to the dictatorship of Park's father, Park Chung Hee, whose 18-year rule was marked by both rapid economic rise and severe civil rights abuse.
The plans for the deployment of THAAD were announced last July, and the actual deployment process began in March, shortly after North Korea launched a salvo of ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
This is, curiously enough, nearly exactly what U.S. President Donald Trump said recently about the possibility of meeting with Kim Jong-un.
And it comes as the North's ambassador to the United Kingdom told Sky News his country will go ahead with its sixth nuclear test at the time and place of its leader Kim Jong Un's choosing.
In the first direct contact between the South Korean and Chinese leaders, Xi explained China's position, Yoon, the South Korean presidential spokesman said, without elaborating.
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