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

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.

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

The TV programme also accused the U.S. of speeding up the deployment before the conservative government in South Korea handed over power.

Trump also said the North Korean nuclear issue was hard but solvable and called the alliance between South Korea and the United States a "great" alliance rather than simply a "good" one. China has vowed appropriate response for THAAD missile batteries. Some analysts believe North Korea refrained from major provocations recently so as to not hurt Moon's chances in Tuesday's South Korean election.

In their first phone conversation, the two leaders "agreed that denuclearising the Korean peninsula is the two countries' common goal", Mr Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-Chan told reporters.

"President Moon said he hoped to meet President Xi in the near future, and President Xi invited President Moon to Beijing on an official visit", Yoon told the press briefing. As he took the oath of office Wednesday, Moon said he was open to visiting Pyongyang under the right conditions to discuss its nuclear programme.

The missile test was carried amid China's vociferous protests over THAAD interceptor missiles in South Korea.

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The deployment of THAAD was agreed a year ago by South Korea's previous administration after North Korea conducted a long-range rocket launch that put an object into space.

Their conversation lasted around 40 minutes, Yoon said, adding that it marked the first time for a Chinese leader to call his or her South Korean counterpart to congratulate the latter on his or her election.

The Chinese state television report made no direct mention of the anti-missile system, instead citing Xi as saying that both sides should handle their disputes appropriately.

"President Xi Jinping said in the message that the Chinese side attaches great importance to the ROK and the relationship with the ROK", Geng said.

The call also touched on a controversial 2015 agreement over compensating South Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military in World War II, Moon's office said.

Moon Jae-in also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday afternoon, according to a separate statement by the Blue House. China and South Korea, as well as Russian Federation, the United States and Japan took part in talks with North Korea on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula from 2003 until 2009, when Pyongyang withdrew from the six-party talks.

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