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Trump open to President Moon talking with North Korea

13 May 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke with new South Korean President Moon Jae-in over phone and invited him to visit India.

The two leaders said they looked forward to meeting at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July.

Moon and Trump will also have a key disagreement on the THAAD missile-defense system.

"President Moon noted the reality was that most of his people could not accept the agreement over the sexual slavery issue", Moon's chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, was quoted as saying. "I'm confident. I'll strain every nerve to the last minute to be a president for all the people". In addition, the USA armed forces recently carried out joint exercises with South Korea's military.

Mr Moon swept to power on Monday in an unprecedented election that was called after his predecessor Park Geun-Hye was impeached over a corruption scandal.

As KCNA announced the allegations last week, it also said North Korea was embarking on a campaign to root out suspected foreign agents.

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It has become clear now that basically most of what Trump says is bluster entirely disconnected to reality. It is unclear at this time how Moon's North Korea policies will align with those of the Trump administration.

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.

The two leaders may not see eye-to-eye on what could comprise the right circumstances. Beijing has been upset by the installation of USA missile-defense system in South Korea that was approved by Moon's conservative predecessor as a hedge against North Korea.

"Will Mr. Moon pursue a "pro-North, anti-Japan" stance?" the conservative Yomiuri newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday.

China sees it as a threat to its security and has called for its withdrawal, but has also denied it was doing anything to retaliate against South Korean businesses.

A liberal leader in South Korea seeks warmer ties with North Korea, clashing with the Republican in the White House intent on snuffing out the North's nuclear weapons program.

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Moon emphasized that resolving the North Korean nuclear problem has to happen in a "comprehensive, phase-by-phase manner, with pressure and sanctions applied at the same time as negotiations go on".

South Korea's presidential office did not say whether Moon and Trump discussed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system which the previous government agreed to host, greatly angering China.

The two sides agreed on the importance of denuclearizing the peninsula.

Relations between Beijing and Seoul have deteriorated over the issue.

In the 2015 comfort women agreement, Abe issued an apology over the issue and arranged for ¥1 billion to be deposited into a South Korean foundation for the dwindling survivors.

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