New South Korea president discusses North Korea, anti-missile system with China's Xi

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SEOUL: South Korea's new President Moon Jae In told Chinese leader Xi Jinping yesterday that North Korea must cease making provocations before tensions over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in the South can be resolved, officials said.

Mr Moon came to power with a promise to review the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is opposed by China but is being deployed as a show of strength against continued provocation by the North.

In the first direct contact between the South Korean and Chinese leaders, Mr Xi explained China's position, Mr Yoon Young-chan, a spokesman for South Korea's presidential office said without elaborating.

China has rigorously objected to the deployment, saying it destabilised the regional security balance and did little to curb the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

"President Moon said he understands China's interest in the THAAD deployment and its concerns, and said he hopes the two countries can swiftly get on with communication to further improve each other's understanding," Mr Yoon told a briefing. - REUTERS

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