South Korea’s new president launched international efforts to defuse tension over North Korea’s weapons development on Thursday, urging both dialogue and sanctions while also aiming to ease China’s anger about a U.S. anti-missile system.
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.
Moon first spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and later to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The conversations were dominated by how to respond to North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“The resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue must be comprehensive and sequential, with pressure and sanctions used in parallel with negotiations,” Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, quoted Moon as telling Xi.
“Sanctions against North Korea are also a means to bring the North to the negotiating table aimed at eliminating its nuclear weapons,” Yoon told a briefing, adding that Xi indicated his agreement.
Moon has taken a more conciliatory line with North Korea than his conservative predecessors and advocates engagement. He has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang “if the conditions are right.” Read more at REUTERS.