All eyes were on France as South Korea elected pro-China president

Miranda GreerMay 13, 2017

The shift came one day after a congratulatory conversation from Xi to Moon Jae-in, the South Korea's newly minted president on Thursday.

"I will be a president who also serves all the people who did not support me", he said. Even if the new South Korean president achieves this huge task, he will still have to tackle South Korea's rising youth unemployment and its overreliance on an export economy that made it vulnerable to economic retaliation.

Since 2008, photographer Eric Lafforgue ventured to North Korea six times. This in turn could set off alarms in a more conservative Washington. Diplomatically, he is expected to use what he finds about public opinion as he goes through the procedures of discussions with Washington and Beijing.

Liberal Moon Jae-in was elected South Korean president on Tuesday.

The center will draw on officers from across the CIA and 'bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target, ' an agency statement said.

Even so, North Korea's relations with Moon's conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, were extremely bad, so it is nearly certain to be cautious about any Moon proposals for increased engagement.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly denied any knowledge of restrictions being placed on South Korean businesses over THAAD.

The decision by the ousted Park's government to host the controversial THAAD system has already proved a headache for Moon as Seoul tries to walk a fine line between Washington, its closest security ally, and China.

Washington wants to increase pressure on Pyongyang through further isolation and sanctions, in contrast to Moon's advocacy for greater engagement with the reclusive North.

Many analysts say Moon likely won't pursue drastic rapprochement policies because North Korea's nuclear program has progressed significantly since he was in the Roh government a decade ago.

Moon faces a divided parliament in which his Democratic Party lacks a majority. 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.

Moon said in his first speech as president he would begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean peninsula and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease a row over a USA missile defence system being deployed in the South.

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

Moon said he would send a special envoy to Russian Federation soon and Putin said he would welcome the envoy.

But former US officials held two days of informal talks in Oslo, Norway, this week with a Pyongyang delegation led by Choe Son Hui, a senior diplomat for North America.

Xi apparently agreed. China opposes the THAAD deployment because it believes that the powerful radar that comes with it can be used to spy on its military movements.

Moon's election signalled the return of the liberals to the centre stage of South Korean diplomacy.

He also told President Xi that the controversy over THAAD could be resolved much more efficiently if North Korea would stop its missile tests, the latest of which occured less than two weeks ago.

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