S. Korea's Moon to send delegation to China amid frayed ties


Selfies, coffee and a jacket were all that new South Korean President Moon Jae-in needed to powerfully project an image that he's a down-to-earth leader.

North Korea has unveiled what it claims are satellite images of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system which was deployed by the USA military in South Korea, Seoul officials said on Thursday.

He did not elaborate, but Yoon also said the two leaders agreed that all sides must work together to ease tensions over North Korea's weapons program.

Moon has taken a more conciliatory line with North Korea than his conservative predecessors and advocates engagement. "If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang".

Talking to reporters, Suh endorsed Moon's call for a summit meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, although saying it would be hard for such a meeting to take place soon, considering the tension over the North's nuclear program.

Moon was sworn-in as new South Korean President on Wednesday.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), meanwhile, chose the day after Moon's election to announce it had established a Korea Mission Center "to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea".

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea is preparing for its sixth nuclear test and was working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.

Moon also received similar congratulatory calls from Japanese and Indian leaders on Thursday.

Trump told Reuters in an interview last month major conflict with North Korea was possible though he would prefer a diplomatic outcome. South Korea's relations with Japan are strained by the Japanese military's sexual exploitation of South Korean women during World War II, and relations with China have been irritated over the THAAD anti-missile system deployment.

During Thursday's call, Xi reaffirmed China's opposition to the THAAD deployment, Moon's office said.

While Washington is pushing for stepped-up pressure on Pyongyang, an unofficial US delegation including former senior USA officials held informal talks in Oslo on Monday and Tuesday with North Korean diplomats, including Choe Son Hui, director-general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's North America section.

South Korea and the United States began deploying the THAAD system in March and it has since become operational.

Moon said he hopes to meet Xi at an early date and Xi formally invited Moon to visit Beijing, it said.

Xi told Moon that China has always upheld the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which are in everyone's interests, according to the state television report. The system has angered Beijing, which says its powerful radars allow Washington to spy on its own military operations.

China has also denied it is doing anything to retaliate against South Korean businesses.