nsucurrent.com April 25, 2018

China presses South Korea on THAAD missile system

15 May 2017, 09:54 | Shelley Chandler

The Chinese President released a statement yesterday congratulating Moon on his victory, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told media in a press conference yesterday.

Mr Moon's softer stance on North Korea could create friction with Washington, which has swung from threats of military action to hints of dialogue as it seeks to formulate a policy under President Donald Trump. But a WSJ op-ed by Michael Breen said Moon's approach is likely to be more realistic than the "sunshine policy". He is facing a delicate task balancing ties with the US, Seoul's traditional ally, and China - both of whose help he needs to tackle North Korea and its nuclear ambitions.

Earlier in the day, Moon spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Blue House said.

Theresa May and South Korea's new president have agreed the need for a "robust response" to aggression from Kim Jong Un. It has also been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.

But from an even deeper historical perspective, Park's impeachment has probably ended the long nostalgia boom that surrounded her father, former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea with an iron fist from 1961 until his assassination in 1979.

Trump told Reuters in an interview last month major conflict with North Korea was possible but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome. He is strongly opposed to its deployment as are China and North Korea.

During his call with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, the two leaders agreed that their countries must not let their hard history hamper co-operation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear program, Moon's office said.

"I want to say it sternly". Moon took office instantly, without a transitional period.

Moon told Abe to "look straight at history" and not make the past "a barrier", South Korea's presidential office said. Not only did Trump go ahead with the deployment without waiting to consult the new president but also, he said that South Korea would have to foot the bill for the missile cover.

China, who vociferously protested the installment of THAAD, conducted live-fire drills and tested new weapons once the system was deployed, as Beijing feels the system's radar could be used to spy on their military activity.

The Thaad missile system, aimed at intercepting attacks from North Korea, was made operational in South Korea last week.

Left-leaning Moon Jae-In, a former human rights lawyer, backs engagement with North Korea in the quest for peace - in contrast to the threatening rhetoric from the Trump administration in recent weeks.

In a sign of Washington's growing concern about the North, the Central Intelligence Agency announced Wednesday its establishment of an integrated "Korea Mission Center".

In the first direct contact between the South Korean and Chinese leaders, Mr Xi explained Beijing's position, said Mr Yoon, the South Korean presidential spokesman, without elaborating. The missile defence system's deployment has hit tourism hard, with visitor inflow from China plunging 40 per cent in March from a year ago to 360,782, the Korea Tourism Organisation said.

Regarding THAAD, President Moon reportedly asked Xi to consider easing the restrictions China has placed on South Korean companies in the country.

China has denied it is retaliating against South Korean businesses.

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