Moon to Xi: Let's Talk

"I will also go to Beijing and Tokyo and even Pyongyang in the right circumstances".

"Over the past 20 years, we have tried all kinds of engagement with North Korea, including the Kaesong Industrial Complex", Kim, the expert from the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said.

A South Korean presidential spokesman said the Chinese leader - who initiated the phone call on Thursday - "explained the reasons for Beijing's strong and repeated opposition" to the deployment, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea has worked with the United States to develop THAAD to help protect it in case of a North Korean missile attack.

Ties between Seoul and Beijing have soured over the South's deployment of a controversial United States anti-missile system aimed at guarding against threats from the nuclear-armed North.

Moon said at his inauguration Wednesday he is prepared to lead a major global diplomatic effort to find a peaceful resolution to the tense security situation.

They agreed to meet face-to-face at the earliest opportunity, and reaffirmed their common goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Yoon added.

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

South Korea and the USA began deploying the THAAD system in March and it has since become operational.

He told Xi the ultimate goal of sanctions was to persuade North Korea to engage in dialogue about abolishing its nuclear program.

Moon told Abe to "look straight at history" and not make the past "a barrier", though he raised South Korea's dissatisfaction with a 2015 agreement meant to put to rest a dispute over Japanese compensation for South Korean women forced to work in Japanese brothels before and during World War Two, Korea's presidential office said.

Japanese officials have described the call as "positive and meaningful", with the two agreeing to cooperate closely to deal with North Korea.

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.

"This is in the common interest of China and South Korea as well as overall peace and stability in the region", Xi said, according to the statement.

As well as clouding efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the THAAD deployment has also led to recriminations from Beijing against South Korean companies.

The Thaad deployment was agreed by Mr Moon's predecessor, conservative leader Park Guen-hye.

China has denied it is retaliating against South Korean businesses.

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