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Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

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

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

Mr 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.

Moon won South Korea's presidency in an election held on Tuesday, campaigning on a more conciliatory approach toward Pyongyang and ending almost ten years of hardline conservative rule in the South that focused on pressuring the reclusive North.

In a significant political change in South Korea, left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in has become the country's new president. China has been upset by the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system that was approved by Moon's conservative predecessor as a hedge against North Korea, placing Seoul in a hard spot between its closest military ally in Washington and its largest trading partner in Beijing.

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea was preparing for its sixth nuclear test and was working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S., presenting Trump with one of his most pressing security issues.

"If needed I will fly to Washington immediately", Moon said in an inauguration speech after taking the oath of office in front of lawmakers at Seoul's National Assembly building.

"I will also go to Beijing, Tokyo and even Pyongyang in the right circumstances". Moon competes against twelve other candidates but South Korea presidential elections are decided in a single round.

CNN suggests the Trump administration may need to work on its relationship with the new Moon administration since Trump officials who visited Seoul since January have largely avoided meeting with any of the candidates in South Korea's emergency presidential election.

China has pressured South Korea both economically and politically to abandon THAAD, which Beijing argues poses a threat to China's national security.

The progressive politician's statement on a more conciliatory approach to North Korea relations drew concerns from the analyst community and could generate friction with U.S. North Korea hard-liners, The Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, the new president, after being sworn in has expressed his willingness to visit Pyongyang in the middle of high tensions with North Korea, an AFP report said.

For months, China has attempted to assuage the situation involving all the talk of potential war that has plagued relations between North Korea, the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Mr Moon earlier said the decision to deploy Thaad had been made hastily and his government should have the final say on whether to deploy it. The two heads of state held a telephone conversation on May 11, 2017, as the Japanese prime minister sought to congratulate Moon on his recent election.

"What's important in this process is that South Korea should lead that new flow of events - we should not be a sightseer just watching talks between the United States and China".

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