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China's Xi speaks with new South Korean president about North Korea

China's Xi speaks with new South Korean president about North Koreaā€¯

China has vigorously opposed the deployment of a USA anti-missile system in South Korea, saying it threatens Chinese security and will do nothing to resolve tensions with North Korea.

Park's decision to allow the United States to base a state-of-the-art missile defense system known by the acronym THAAD in South Korea's territory to cope with North Korean nuclear threats is a major irritant.

South Korea's relationship with China has been tense in recent months due to the deployment of the USA missile defense system THAAD, which China sees as compromising its military interests. In that respect, Moon's rhetoric would fit right in with the Washington established.

North Korea last week accused the Central Intelligence Agency of plotting with the South to assassinate Kim using a biochemical weapon, an allegation impossible to verify - and following the killing of his half-brother Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia with a banned nerve agent, a murder widely blamed on Pyongyang.

"If Moon wants to improve Seoul's ties with Beijing, it would not be hard for him to figure out the correct path", Xinhua argues.

He told Xi the ultimate goal of sanctions was to persuade North Korea to engage in dialogue about abolishing its nuclear program. It's highly unlikely that Moon will pursue the same level of rapprochement that past liberal governments took. "President Moon accepted the invitation", the White House said.

Moon said the alliance with Washington is his top priority. He has a point: Though the system is an important and needed counter to the growing missile threat from Pyongyang, the action looked like an attempt to circumvent Moon's expressed reservations by creating a fait accompli. "The situation became more urgent, with rumors appearing about a crisis on the Korean Peninsula and with Trump asking us to pay $1 billion [for THAAD], and Trump [as a former businessperson] tends to like getting things over with".

Beijing's displeasure over THAAD has reportedly been felt by South Korean businesses, particularly Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate that signed off on a land swap deal with the government to provide a site for the THAAD launch systems in late February.

Recent months have seen widening commercial retaliation against South Korean business interests in China, ranging from the cancellation of visits by popstars and actors to boycotts of the Lotte chain of department stores and the shutdown of work on an amusement park being built in China by the company.

Those who predict that a Moon presidency will disrupt South Korean relations with the United States and Japan are surely mistaken.

"The North Korean nuclear issue should be solved in a comprehensive and phased manner, and the pressure and sanctions, as well as negotiation, should be combined", Moon Jae-in is quoted as having told Xi in a Blue House statement.

South Korea has a new president: Moon Jae-in.

That said, it is not clear that Seoul and Beijing can immediately get on the same page and put bad blood behind them.

Moon must also try to mend a society badly bruised by the corruption scandal that doomed Park's administration.

"I will be a president to all people", he said in his speech, promising to "serve even those who did not support me" and remain "at eye-level with the people".



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