KOREAN PENINUSULA
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North Korea

Front runner for South Korean presidency says he would pursue direct talks with Kim Jong-un

Moon is the nominee for the left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea, which has traditionally favoured a softer approach toward North Korea

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 5:35pm

South Korean presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in told a local newspaper that he would deal with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions through direct talks with dictator Kim Jong-un.

Moon – one of two top candidates for the May 9 election – told the Korea Herald newspaper that South Korea must negotiate with Kim to resolve the nuclear issue. South Korea should play a greater role since it has the most at stake, the newspaper reported him as saying.

At present, we are spectators who hope for the US-China talks to go well
Moon Jae-in

“I feel that we should take the lead,” Moon said in the interview on Monday. “At present, we are spectators who hope for the US-China talks to go well.”

He expressed regret that US. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping didn’t reach an agreement on North Korea at last week’s summit.

Tensions are rising on the Korean peninsula as the Trump administration vows to consider all options, including military force, to convince Kim to abandon his nuclear programme. The US recently diverted warships to the region, prompting a rebuke from North Korea, while South Korea has warned that its northern neighbour may conduct a nuclear test in the coming days to mark symbolic dates in the country’s history.

The US has ruled out talking with North Korea until it commits to giving up its nuclear weapons. Joint discussions between six nations – China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the US – collapsed in 2009.

Moon is the nominee for the left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea, which has traditionally favoured a softer approach toward North Korea. His rivals in the vote to choose a successor to ousted former President Park Geun-hye have taken more hardline stances toward Kim’s regime.

Moon has said that he would review a decision to allow the US to deploy a missile shield in South Korea over China’s objections. His main rival, Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party, has expressed support for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD.

In the interview, Moon said he would address Thaad first if he took power. “I will concentrate on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, which is the root of matters surrounding THAAD,” he said.