Russian, South Korean presidents hold telephone conversation

Also yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called Moon, in which the South Korean President said he wants to work closely with China to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, including restarting six-party talks with world powers, "and other methods, as soon as possible".

Moon said the ultimate goal of sanctions was to bring the DPRK to the dialogue table to abolish its nuclear program. With Seoul now sharing the latter view, Beijing will feel even less pressure to seriously tighten the screws on North Korea, as Trump has been urging. But the system has led to a deep schism in relations between Beijing and Seoul, prompting widespread boycotts in China of popular South Korean brands.

Many see Moon's manner as a refreshing break from his disgraced, jailed predecessor Park Geun-hye, whom critics saw as aloof and autocratic.

China has rigorously objected to the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, saying it destabilized regional security and did little to curb any threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which are in defiance of USA pressure and United Nations sanctions. Trump reached out and congratulated him before extending the open invitation to join him for a meeting in Washington at a date of the Moon's choosing.

Mr Moon has previously expressed ambivalence over the THAAD system and told Mr Xi he was "well aware" of Chinese concerns about it. Moon's aides say he will commute from his home for the first few days as workers finish furnishing the Blue House residential space for him.

Yoon said that President Moon highly evaluated India's participation in global sanctions against the North.

"They agreed the bilateral relationship would continue to go from strength to strength". And if conditions are met I will go to Pyongyang.

Moon said he planned to send a special envoy to Russian Federation in the near future. The first part of the system became operational early this month, and the full capabilities are expected to be set up by the end of the year.

Japan has been concerned that Moon will take a tough line on feuds stemming from its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula and could fray ties at a time when cooperation over North Korea is vital.

  • Leroy Wright