Russian, South Korean presidents hold telephone conversation

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

Moon Jae-in's advocacy of engagement with North Korea has appeared to contrast with the approach of the United States, South Korea's main ally, which has been seeking to step up pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes through further isolation and sanctions.

Taking the oath of office in Seoul on Wednesday, Moon said he will further bolster the alliance and "immediately fly to Washington if necessary" for the sake of peace on the Korean Peninsula. He has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right".

On Thursday, US director of national intelligence Dan Coats said North Korea posed "a very significant, potentially existential threat to the United States that has to be addressed".

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the crisis on the Korean Peninsula in the telephone talks with South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, during which the sides emphasized importance of the diplomatic settlement of the crisis, the Kremlin press service said in a statement Friday.

South Korea has accepted a last-minute invitation from China to a conference on a new Silk Road, days after a new president took office on Seoul pledging to engage in discussions with Beijing to ease tension over a US anti-missile system. "I would like to closely cooperate with the president to achieve the denuclearisation of North Korea", Abe told Moon.

South Korea's election body said that Moon had gathered 41 percent of the votes.

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"The North Korean situation is a very, very unsafe one for South Korea, for Japan, frankly for China and for the rest of the world".

China has protested against the deployment saying the system's powerful radar can probe deep into its territory, undermining is security, destabilizing the regional security balance and doing little to deter North Korea.

The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket. Moon responded that he's aware of China's concerns and he hopes the two countries can have a greater understanding of each other's positions on the system, it said.

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

Moon then proposed the countries to enhance their bilateral cooperation in three major areas, including joint efforts to end North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Moon said he would send a special envoy to Russian Federation soon and Putin said he would welcome the envoy. China denies it has done anything to hurt South Korean businesses.

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