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Pyongyang unveils satellite photos of Thaad in S.Korea

11 May 2017

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea is preparing for its sixth nuclear test and was working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.

Ties between Seoul and Beijing have soured over the South's deployment of a controversial U.S. anti-missile system aimed at guarding against threats from the nuclear-armed North. The system has angered Beijing, which says its powerful radars allow Washington to spy on its own military operations.

Trump administration officials may worry about Moon's softer approach to North Korea, but they also likely know he won't push for any radical policies on the North or any other issues that would hurt the decades-long alliance.

Tensions between North Korea and the USA go back to the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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"I will also go to Beijing and Tokyo and even Pyongyang in the right circumstances".

During his campaign, many conservatives anxious that Moon's election would cause problems with Washington, Seoul's most important ally, because of his engagement policy on North Korea would clash with Trump's push to maximize pressures on the country.

"From the start of his speech, Moon spoke of the burden that now rests on his shoulders following the recent turmoil and impeachment of his predecessor", he said.

In recent months the Trump administration has suggested a military option is on the table, escalating fears of conflict - although the U.S. president changed tone last week, saying he would be "honored" to meet the North's young ruler, Kim Jong-Un. "Or do you dial down the pressure and turn on the mood music and light some candles until North Korea gets in the mood to talk?" he said. But Moon and his supporters nonetheless find it regrettable that conservative South Korean presidents since Lee Myung-bak did not maintain the Sunshine Policy, as Kohl had done with Ostpolitik. Moon also offered a message of unity to his political rivals " Moon's Democratic Party has only 120 out of 300 seats in the National Assembly, so he may need broader support while pushing his key policies.

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"Politics were turbulent (in the past several months), but our people showed greatness", Moon said.

Chinese president Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message on Wednesday to Moon Jae-in, the newly elected president of South Korea. "While we competed hard during the campaign, we must strive for unity for the sake of the national interest", Moon told the LKP leader. "We must put the days of fierce competition behind and hold hands marching forward".

The Thaad system "is operational and has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend the Republic of Korea", a spokesman for US Forces Korea confirmed on May 2.

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.

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