South Korea to Send Envoys to China to Discuss THAAD, North Korea

Ken Copeland
May 14, 2017

"I still believe Moon Jae-in faces major difficulties in reversing the THAAD deployment or even making any kind of modifications", Zhao says. The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket.

In the first conversation in eight months between the leaders of the two countries, Mr Xi reiterated China's opposition to the controversial deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system in South Korea.

Moon advocated dialogue with the North as well as sanctions, adopting a more conciliatory stance than his predecessor.

"Moon will be different from previous progressive leaders who focused on the ideology of the "one nation" identity", Hyun-Wook Kim, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, told Sputnik.

Beijing - the North's biggest trade partner and diplomatic protector - is infuriated over the deployment of a USA missile defence system in the South, and Seoul is embroiled in a row with fellow U.S. ally Tokyo over wartime history.

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated South Korea's new president on his election victory, and the two agreed to work closely in dealing with North Korea.

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"We want to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean peninsula together with other countries including South Korea", The Global Times quoted Xi as saying.

North Korea last week accused the Central Intelligence Agency of plotting with the South to assassinate Mr 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.

South Korea and the United States began deploying the THAAD system in March and it has since become operational. Moon has said he wants to review that decision.

"In 1992 and 1997, North Korea released more lengthy commentary about South Korea's presidential elections", said Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at the ministry, at a press briefing. In the call, Xi asked Moon to visit Beijing, Moon's office said.

As well as clouding efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the THAAD deployment has also led to recriminations from Beijing against South Korean companies.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, urged South Korea to end what it called confrontational policies, including joint military drills with the United States. China denies it has done anything to hurt South Korean businesses.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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