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Trump and Moon Jae-in pledge cooperation on North Korea

11 May 2017

The committee did say that the $300 million grant provided by Japan to South Korea as part of the 1965 deal broadly covered individual property rights, South Korea's state claims to Japan, as well as reparations for Korean forced laborers during World War II. However, the election of President Moon Jae-in is threatening to destabilize the allegiance between the two countries.

Mr Moon will have a hard diplomatic path to tread in his approach to North Korea, which dreams of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States and has vast artillery forces trained on Seoul.

South Korea's new liberal President was sworn in yesterday and vowed to tackle immediately the hard tasks of addressing North Korea's advancing nuclear ambitions and soothing tensions with the United States and China. "I hope that the developments in China-South Korea relations from working with you [Moon] will redound as greater benefits to both countries and their people", he added.

Even if the THAAD issue doesn't erupt, the current host nation support agreement expires in 2018, and the United States and South Korea, which now provides $875 million-50 percent of the cost of stationing 28,000 USA troops in South Korea-will have to negotiate another cost-sharing accord.

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Moon told Xi that it would be easier to settle the missile-defense issue if North Korea wasn't engaging in provocations, the statement said. Moon, a liberal, has called for a return to the "Sunshine Policy" of economic cooperation and humanitarian aid that was pursued under two liberal presidents but abandoned a decade ago.

North Korea says it needs its weapons to defend itself against the United States which it says has pushed the region to the brink of nuclear war. Xi also stressed in his May 10 telegram that 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Seoul and Beijing.

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. Moon also said he would review the THAAD deployment.

He has also said he wants to reconsider the U.S. deployment of THAAD anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula.

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During his first speech before South Korea's National Assembly, Moon said he would be "responsible for personnel" who will serve in his administration, and appoint officials across the political spectrum while exercising transparency, local television network SBS reported.

China views THAAD as a threat and a destabilizing influence in the region, and has retaliated against South Korea with limits on tourism and imports.

The deployment is also unpopular among South Koreans who live near the site that hosts the system because they believe it makes them a target. The two leaders also agreed to strengthen their alliance, the White House said. Moon has called for a renegotiation of the pact. "South Korea has proven that it can change things democratically and constitutionally", said Robert Kelly, a political science professor at Pusan National University in Busan.

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