South Korean leader Moon discuss North Korea with China's Xi: Blue House

Reuters

Reuters

South Korea's presidential office did not say whether Moon and Trump discussed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system which the previous government agreed to host, greatly angering China.

South Korea's new president launched global efforts to defuse tension over North Korea's weapons development on Thursday, urging both dialogue and sanctions while also aiming to ease Chinese anger about a USA anti-missile system.

Moon assumed presidential duties early in the morning after the National Election Commission finished counting Tuesday's votes and declared him victor of the special election necessitated by the ousting of conservative Park Geun-hye, whose downfall and jailing on corruption charges is one of the most turbulent stretches in the nation's recent political history.

But Abe also said "dialogue for dialogue's sake would be meaningless" and he called on North Korea to demonstrate "sincere and concrete action", Hagiuda said, adding that Moon shared Abe's views.

While taking the oath of office Wednesday, Moon said he's open to visiting North Korea under the right conditions.

"The resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue must be comprehensive and sequential, with pressure and sanctions used in parallel with negotiations", Moon's spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, quoted Moon as telling Xi.

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Thaad was deployed to South Korea by the United States in response to North Korea's increased missile and nuclear tests but the defence system has drawn sharp opposition from China and Russian Federation as their territories are within the system's range, according to CNN.

South Korea's new liberal President Moon Jae-in was sworn in on Wednesday 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. It said Moon told Abe that it was emotionally hard for South Koreans to accept the agreement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both congratulated Moon on Wednesday.

Trump told Reuters in an interview last month major conflict with North Korea was possible though he would prefer a diplomatic outcome.

Japanese officials have described the call as "positive and meaningful", with the two agreeing to cooperate closely to deal with North Korea.

Moon said in his first speech as president he would begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean peninsula and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease a row over a USA missile defense system being deployed in the South.

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China says the system does little to curb the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it has been pressing ahead with in defiance of USA pressure and United Nations sanctions.

"I take this office empty-handed, and I will leave the office empty-handed", Moon said.

While Washington is pushing for stepped-up pressure on Pyongyang, an unofficial US delegation including former senior USA officials held informal talks in Oslo on Monday and Tuesday with North Korean diplomats, including Choe Son Hui, director-general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's North America section.

Beijing also has its own issues with Seoul.

China has already taken commercial retaliation against South Korean business interests on its soil, but will be hoping Moon follows through on his campaign pledge to review the missile system's deployment if elected.

China has also denied it is doing anything to retaliate against South Korean businesses.

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