Monday, 29 May, 2017

Editor selections from the past week in Asia

South Korea's new President Moon Jae In talks to Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the presidential Blue House in Seoul S Korea's Moon to send delegation to China amid frayed ties
Frank Williams | 19 May, 2017, 08:01

Russia's President Vladimir Putin told his newly elected South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, in a phone call on Friday that he is ready to play a "constructive role" in resolving North Korea's nuclear threat, the South's presidential office said.

Moon advocated dialogue with the North as well as sanctions, adopting a more conciliatory stance than his predecessor. He has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right".

Congratulating Moon on his election as South Korean president, Xi said that China and South Korea are close neighbors as well as important players in the region.

"How to respond to North Korea.is an urgent issue".

Both sides should respect each other's legitimate interests and try best to seek common ground and handle disputes properly, Xi said.

"We hope for Russian Federation to play a constructive role in order for North Korea to stop with its nuclear provocations and go the way of denuclearisation", Moon was citing as saying to Putin in the 20-minute conversation.

Japan has been concerned that Moon will take a tough line on feuds stemming from the bitter legacy of its 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean peninsula and could fray ties at a time when cooperation on North Korea is vital.

Trump warns Comey and says he may cancel press briefings
Trump's visible anger and erratic tweets prompted a reporter to ask Spicer on Friday if the president was "out of control". President Trump tweeted, refering to now disputed talks the two had before Trump summarily fired Comey on Tuesday night .

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system, aimed at intercepting attacks from North Korea, was made operational in South Korea last week.

The North did not report the victory of the South's previous president Lee Myung-Bak at all.

Earlier in the day, Moon spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Blue House said.

But until Thursday, South Korea had not been invited.

As well as clouding efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the THAAD deployment has also led to recriminations from Beijing against South Korean companies.

Moon will send a delegation headed by Park Byeong-seug, a veteran member of parliament and a senior official of Moon's liberal Democratic Party, Yoon said.

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

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