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South Koreans hope to resume business at joint factory park

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Moon, who was a close aide to Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea's last leader to adopt a "sunshine" policy of diplomatic and economic outreach toward the North, has called for a balance of pressure and engagement.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005.

The United States said in a statement that it looks forward to "deepen the enduring friendship and partnership between our two countries".

As president, Moon must find a way to coax an increasingly belligerent North Korea to ease its nuclear and missile threats. South Korea's relations with Japan are strained by the Japanese military's sexual exploitation of South Korean women during World War II, and relations with China have been irritated over the THAAD anti-missile system deployment.

China also hopes the new South Korean government attaches importance to China's concerns and takes steps to promote the stable and healthy development of ties, Xi said.

He also said he was prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right". If so, actually reconsidering THAAD would go a long way, since Beijing has been furious with Seoul for allowing it. North Korea is severely isolated from the global community at the moment.

"President Moon noted the reality was that most of his people could not accept the agreement over the sexual slavery issue", Moon's chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, was quoted as saying.

He also said that he would engage in "serious negotiations" with the USA over its controversial anti-ballistic missile system Thaad created to thwart attacks by North Korea, which was deployed last week despite angry protests from China. The date was not set for a potential visit by Moon.

Trump has called for South Korea to pay the US $1 billion for a system the USA has always described as in America's vital security interests.

Trump upset Seoul when he said in a Reuters interview last month he would like Seoul to pay for the system and further frictions are possible after he said he would either renegotiate or terminate a "horrible" free trade deal.

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

(Korean - ) "Humanitarian options, such as the reunions for separated families or aiding North Korean infants, could be something that President Moon can offer to Pyongyang soon".

Yet if Moon's ascent can be described as a triumph for South Korea's young democracy, it may pose a challenge to an already wobbly US position in Asia. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the United Nations the US wants to bring North Korea to "its senses, not to its knees", according to the Newsweek report.

It has conducted its fifth nuclear test and a series of missile launches since the start of a year ago, ratcheting up tension.

Tensions have been running high with Washington calling for more sanctions and warning a military option was on the table, but Trump recently softened his posture, saying he would be "honoured" to meet the North's leader Kim Jong-Un.

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