Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

South Korean president 'may visit Pyongyang'

In their phone call, Trump congratulated Moon on his election victory and his country's "peaceful, democratic transition of power", a White House statement said.

Mr Trump invited Democratic party leader Mr Moon to visit the United States "as early as possible".

Suga only said Abe told Moon that the agreement should be "appropriately managed", but did not elaborate.

"Just spoke with my friend President Moon Jae-in of Korea".

North Korea demanded on Thursday the handover of "terror suspects" who plotted to kill leader Kim Jong Un with a biochemical substance, repeating accusations it made last week that USA and South Korean spies were behind the plan.

Beijing will be hoping for concessions from Moon to get relations back on track after months of Chinese fury over South Korea's decision to deploy THAAD.

Some analysts believe North Korea refrained from major provocations recently so as to not hurt Moon's chances in Tuesday's South Korean election.

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"If North Korea agrees to the [talks'] conditions and freezes its nuclear assets, a situation where the country has 50 nuclear weapons by 2020 can be prevented", the security analyst said.

Xi told Moon China had always upheld the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which were in everyone's interests, according to a state television report.

Mr Moon has advocated dialogue with the North as well as sanctions, adopting a more conciliatory stance than his predecessor.

"There has never been a visit of the president of South Korea to Israel (so far)", he also underlined, expressing hopes that President Moon could be the first South Korean president to visit Israel.

Moon said in his first speech as president soon after he was sworn in on Wednesday that he would immediately begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean peninsula and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease the Thaad row. "Israel can offer to Korea some great solutions in this field, something which is getting more important, especially these days", he said, apparently referring to threats South Korea faces from North Korea's growing nuclear and missile arsenals.

There's widespread opposition in South Korea to the THAAD deployment and loud protests from China, which also sees the system as a security threat. It says he is a North Korean resident of Pyongyang who worked for a time in the Russian Far East.

It wasn't clear whether Moon used the conversation to call for a renegotiation of the deal. 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.

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