South Korea to attend China's Silk Road summit amid diplomatic rift

Alain Brian
Mai 16, 2017

The spokesman said: "The Prime Minister called the South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier this morning to congratulate him on his recent electoral success".

During the phone dialogue, Moon advocated a two-track approach of pressure and sanctions toward the DPRK to resolve the country's nuclear issue in a comprehensive, staged way.

"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.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.

While South Korea, China and Japan all worry about North Korea, ties between South Korea and China have been strained by South Korea's decision to install a U.S. anti-missile system in defence against the North.

"I am well aware of the concern and fear of the Chinese about the THAAD deployment", Moon was quoted as saying when Xi explained the Chinese stance on the matter.

Moon, who was elected this week, has taken a more conciliatory line than his conservative predecessors and has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right".

On Tuesday, Beijing confirmed that an official delegation from North Korea would also attend the summit.

North Korea said US and South Korean agents bribed and coerced a North Korean man into joining the plot which was foiled by its state security ministry.

Moon responded that he would strive to find an appropriate solution. Now more than ever is the time for Seoul to devote itself to balanced diplomacy with the position that it should take the initiative in resolving problems on the Korean Peninsula. After the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye, the functions of government were paralyzed, and while that was happening the THAAD components were suddenly deployed, further heightening tensions. Mr. Moon wants to increase the government budget, while also raising welfare payments and the minimum wage.

Under the "Sunshine Policy" initiated by late South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, a liberal leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the successful implementation of this policy in 2000, tour programs for South Korean citizens to visit North Korea were introduced for the first time in history and an industrial park was opened in 2004 in Kaesong, North Korea, where over 51,000 North Koreans worked for over 120 South Korean companies at its peak.

Park, who also served as co-chairman of Moon's presidential campaign team, is expected to meet key Chinese officials on the sidelines of the forum to discuss the ways to fix bilateral relations, the official told Yonhap.

Moon Jae-in was voted in as president of South Korea on 9 May 2017.

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