05/17/2017, 14.38

Moon Jae-in in favour of dialogue with Kim Jong-un

South Korea’s new president differs from Donald Trump, who wants tighter sanctions. Seoul does not want to pay for the US THAAD anti-missile radar system. Since the latter can monitor Chinese territory, China has imposed economic sanctions on South Korean companies.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Korea said that it wants to renew the dialogue with North Korea over the nuclear issue.

“Our most basic stance is that communication lines between South and North Korea should open,” Lee Duk-haeng, a spokesman for the South’s Unification Ministry, told reporters.

Communications were severed last year ago in the wake of new sanctions following North Korea’s last nuclear test and its decision to shut down a joint North-South industrial zone operated inside the North.

South Korea has not given up pressures to stop North Korea's weapons programme, and does not intend to pay for the US High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system. US President Donald Trump has said that he wants South Korea to pay for it.

China has strongly opposed THAAD, saying it can spy into its territory, and has sanctioned South Korean companies over the deployment.

The position of Democratic President Moon Jae-in, a Catholic, is consistent with the commitments he made during the electoral campaign in favour of a more moderate approach to the North than that of his predecessor.

With respect to Kim Jong-un, Moon Jae-in said he wants a two-track involving possible sanctions and dialogue.

North Korea has made no secret of the fact that it is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland and has ignored calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally.

Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile launch, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, took place on Sunday. The test, which was to evaluate its capability of carrying a “large-size heavy nuclear warhead”, drew Security Council condemnation.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a closed-door UN Security Council meeting, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the US and China have been working on “a unified plan” on how to approach North Korea that would include tougher new sanctions.

She indicated that Washington and Beijing had agreed to take action if a new test looked to be long range and leaning toward an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States.

The latest launch appeared to fulfil both criteria, Haley said, “so I believe that China will stay true to that and that we’ll come together on how we’re going to do that.”

“This is a true threat to every country in the world. . . . We’re going to make sure we put the pressure on them [North Korea] economically, diplomatically, politically and internationally.”

Asked about comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Monday who called North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests “unacceptable” but also said the United States should stop intimidating Pyongyang, Haley said that Putin and others who have made similar comments should ask themselves: “What about North Korea intimidating us? They’re intimidating the entire international community.”

For Moon Jae-in, this confrontation can only be solved through renewed dialogue with South Korea playing the role of mediator.

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