China Fires Off Missile In Possible 'Warning' To US, South Korea

South Korea's newly elected president said Wednesday he is prepared to "fly to Washington immediately if needed" as he pledged to strengthen cooperation with the United States.

Sworn in earlier today, South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has promised to "urgently" tackle his nation's serious foreign policy problems, with an eye on trying to defuse soaring tensions with neighboring North Korea, while also trying to come to some sort of agreement with the USA and China over the THAAD missile defense system. Xi said China was willing to handle disputes with South Korea "appropriately" on the basis of mutual trust and understanding. I will go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo.

The offer of shuttle diplomacy by Moon Jae-in came shortly after he was sworn in as president after winning a snap election triggered by the impeachment of former conservative leader Park Geun-hye.

"If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang", Mr Moon said.

Xi congratulated Moon on his election and the leaders agreed to exchange special envoys as soon as possible, Yoon said.

Suh Hoon, a career spy agency official who was instrumental in setting up two previous summits between the North and South, was named to head the National Intelligence Service.

"In order to bring about peace and security on the Korean Peninsula I will do everything that I can", he said.

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea was preparing for its sixth nuclear test and was working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue. In fact, because of THAAD Beijing has subjected South Korea to a series of undeclared economic sanctions.

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China says the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) undermines its security as its powerful radar can probe deep into its territory.

"President Moon will combine sanctions and dialogue, but which comes first will be decided after talking to relevant nations like the USA and China", Lee said.

Given Moon Jae-in's uncompromising stance on hot historical issues like wartime "comfort women", Japan is increasingly wary of dealing with a tough-minded South Korean president amid a challenging political landscape in Asia.

Mr. Moon will have a hard diplomatic path to tread in his approach to the North, which dreams of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States, and has vast artillery forces trained on Seoul. Moon realizes that pressure alone is not sufficient for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and that the key is to pursue both dialogue and pressure, he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to turn a new leaf and focus on the future of bilateral relations instead.

Abe said he looked forward to working with Moon to improve relations, describing South Korea as one of Japan's most important neighbors.

Data from an exit poll conducted by South Korea's top three television networks showed that while Mr Moon won the majority of votes cast by people under the age of 50, conservative rival Hong Joon-pyo found strong support among voters aged in their 60s and 70s. Moon's aides say he will commute from his home for the first few days as workers finish furnishing the Blue House residential space for him.

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