Moon Jae-In : North Korea reports on South's presidential election

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor is seen in Seongju South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in told his Chinese counterpart that he plans to send a special delegation to Beijing for talks on North Korea and a contentious US missile-defense shield, raising the prospect of a thaw in relations between the Asian neighbors.

Moon also appealed to Beijing to stop its apparent economic retaliation against South Korean businesses over THAAD.

Mr Moon has acknowledged that strong sanctions will be necessary to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

Mr Moon acknowledged Chinese concerns about the system but said that Beijing should address the "restraints and restrictions" punitively imposed on South Korean companies operating in China.

SOUTH Korea's President Moon Jae-in is to send special envoys to China to discuss issues concerning a United States missile defense system and North Korea.

During his first speech as president, Moon said he would aim to sooth tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Moon told Abe to "look straight at history" and not make the past "a barrier", South Korea's presidential office said.

"North and South Korea should seek dialogue and negoti-ations at various levels", it added.

South Korea has a new president: Moon Jae-in.

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The settlement, which remains hugely unpopular in South Korea, included cash payments for victims and South Korea agreed to try to resolve a Japanese grievance over a statue of a girl representing victims in front of its Seoul embassy.

"I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula", he said today.

Tension has been high for months on the Korean peninsula over North Korea's nuclear and missile development and due to fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test and more ballistic missile launches in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

In his first key appointments, Moon named two liberal veterans with ties to the 2000s "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with North Korea to the posts of prime minister and spy chief.

In the wake of the polarising tenure of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who was ousted through the impeachment route, he appeared conciliatory during the election campaign, emphasising the need to move on. In spite of high unemployment rates among young South Koreans, he's vowed to raise the nation's minimum wage.

South Korea says it needs Thaad to defend itself from North Korea, but China believes its radars threaten regional security. "If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang", Mr Moon said.

On that front, Moon's options to generate major change could be severely limited by South Korea's alliance with the United States and whatever position toward North Korea that President Donald Trump decides to take. The call to Moon took place just a day after he took office and comes amid increased regional tensions over North Korea as well as the deployment of a US missile-defense shield in South Korea.

"If Moon wants to improve Seoul's ties with Beijing, it would not be hard for him to figure out the correct path", Xinhua argues.

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