Chinese president talks with South Korean president by phone

The South Korean leader said he plans to send a special envoy to China to discuss Thaad and North Korea.

"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.

Moon advocated dialogue with the North as well as sanctions, adopting a more conciliatory stance than his predecessor.

"He said he saw a need for the two countries to work together and wisely overcome historical disputes, including the comfort women issue, while separately continuing their joint efforts to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue", Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan was quoted as saying.

Moon began his first full day in office by shaking hands and taking selfies with supporters near his private Seoul home before heading to the presidential Blue House.

The last time that Han appeared to brief foreign diplomats in Pyongyang was last December, to present North Korea's response to the latest round of United Nations sanctions after the September 2016 nuclear test.

Ties between South Korea and China, who are important trade partners, have been strained by Seoul's decision to host a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system in response to a growing missile threat from North Korea. He also said he was prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right".

The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Moon Jae-in, who has taken over as President of South Korea, and invited him to visit India soon.

Moon told Abe to "look straight at history" and not make the past "a barrier", South Korea's presidential office said. The industrial park was shut down by the South Korean government in February 2016, in response to a ballistic missile test by North Korea.

"Mun Jae-In... was elected to be the 19th-term "president" with 41 percent voting rate", it said, using the McCune-Reischauer transliteration system that is standard in North Korea. "Our idea was that September would be a good time for the summit", Kim Gi-jeong, a member of Moon's camp and the director of the School of Public Administration at Yonsei University, told the Hankyoreh on May 11.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said that the two sides expressed willingness "to bring [relations] back to a healthy and stable development track".

The two countries' foreign ministries struck a deal to resolve the so-called comfort women issue on December 28, 2015, consisting of an apology by the Japanese prime minister and a 1 billion yen ($8.98 million) fund for the victims.

  • Jon Douglas