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

17 May 2017

During the first two days since his inauguration, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the leaders of the US, China and Japan and discussed pressing issues related to the Korean Peninsula.

Moon has taken a more conciliatory line with North Korea than his conservative predecessors and advocates engagement.

"I could probably give you a much better answer to that in a month or two months. And I think we've handled it very well, very firmly".

"They agreed it would be important for the worldwide community to continue to pursue a robust response to North Korean violations of UN Security Council resolutions and other global obligations".

They came as North Korea's ambassador to the United Kingdom told Sky News his country will go ahead with its sixth nuclear test at a time and place of its leader's choosing.

On Thursday, the USA director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that North Korea posed "a very significant, potentially existential threat to the United States that has to be addressed".

Trump, who spoke with Moon on Wednesday, this month opened the door to meeting North Korea's Kim Jong Un, saying he would be "honored" to meet Kim - but only under the right circumstances.

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When the special envoys will be sent to each other has yet to be decided, but Xi has also invited Moon on a visit to his country, he noted.

Moon Jae-in, a liberal former human rights lawyer, was sworn in on Wednesday and said in his first speech as president he would immediately address security tensions that have raised fears of war on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump and Moon held a 30-minute phone call at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in which the two leaders agreed to hold a summit soon to discuss North Korea and other pending issues.

It added the two leaders "agreed to continue to strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea alliance and to deepen the enduring friendship between our two countries". Those talks collapsed in 2008.

He added that the goal of the sanctions on North Korea is to lead Pyongyang to negotiations to ultimately scrap its nuclear program, and Xi was said to have expressed agreement.

Throughout his campaign, the new South Korean president had insisted that the new Seoul government must be given a chance to review and possibly reconsider the agreement reached by the former administration on the deployment of the US missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

The image shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

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