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Trump, South Korea's Moon agree to cooperate on North Korea

12 May 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping also called to congratulate the new South Korean leader on Thursday, the pres-idential office said, adding it was the first time a Chinese leader had ever done so.

South Korea might see a sharp departure from recent policy under Mr Moon, who favours closer ties with North Korea. "President Moon accepted the invitation", the White House said.

(Kim Hong-ji/Pool Photo via AP).

Stangarone also added that whatever worldwide plans Moon has, the economic situation in South Korea and the fact that he was elected following an impeachment mean that domestic issues will constrain what he wants to do. Moons victory will nearly certainly slam the door shut on any military option against North Korea for the Trump administration.

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Despite Chinese anger at North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state's most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang. Moon visited the national cemetery where he honored the country's former presidents, independence fighters and war heroes as he began his presidential duties.

THAAD went operational last week, despite angry protests from China, which said that THAAD's powerful radar undermined its own security.

Mr Moon also raised the issue of apparent economic retaliation against South Korean firms in China, he said.

Moon has understood that the only way to resolve crisis on the Korean peninsular is by talking, said Nillson-Wright.

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

Moon's election comes in the aftermath of a major corruption and influence peddling scandal that had rocked South Korea and led to the impeachment of the previous president, Park Geun-hye.

Mr Abe told Mr Moon yesterday it was "extremely important" to implement the deal, said Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.

Tensions have been running high with Washington calling for more sanctions and warning a military option was on the table, but Trump recently softened his posture, saying he would be "honoured" to meet the North's leader Kim Jong-Un.

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"The talk about a South-North summit is a little premature, but regardless of that, there's a need for a summit meeting", Suh said. The son of North Korean refugees, Moon also takes over the leadership mantle amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.