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20 May 2017, 02:45 | Erica Roy
Richard Drew — The Associated Press file
South Korea and China appear to be moving toward mending their strained ties over the installation of a US missile defense system here as exchanges and contacts in diverse areas have apparently been gaining traction since the inauguration of liberal President Moon Jae-in, experts said Tuesday.
Unlike his two conservative predecessors, Moon, a liberal, has emphasized the importance of dialogue in dealing with North Korea, saying that his predecessors' hard line, which focused on sanctions, had failed to prevent the North from expanding its nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal.
North Korea launched Sunday what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet, saying it was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead" in a test aimed at bringing the USA mainland within reach.
US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, clarified Washington's North Korea policy before she entered a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on Pyongyang's recent ballistic missile launch.
President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Matthew Pottinger, senior director for East Asia at the White House's National Security Council at the Blue House in Seoul, May 16.
Moon added that South Korea was ready and able to retaliate should the North, which he said appeared to be rapidly advancing its missile and nuclear capabilities, strike first.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a closed-door meeting of the 15-member U.N. Security Council on the missile launch, Haley made clear that Washington would talk to North Korea only once it halted its nuclear program.
North Korea has carried out a total of five nuclear tests so far, and according to an expert satellite imagery analysis, Pyongyang may be preparing for a sixth test soon.
Harris said North Korea's nuclear and missile tests showed that the country was a "liability for China not and asset", and for showed the need for Beijing to do more rein in its neighbour. North Korea's willingness to violate United Nations resolutions so quickly after Moon's inauguration shows that the regime will not act any more benevolently to Moon than to his conservative predecessors. "The Unification Ministry has considered options on this internally but nothing has been decided yet".
US Ambassador Nikki Haley has accused North Korea of intimidating the entire global community with its nuclear programme, military ability and cyberattacks, and said any country that doesn't implement United Nations sanctions is supporting Pyongyang's actions.
The two Koreas - technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended only with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty - have occasionally clashed along the border.
"You either support North Korea or you support us", she said, suggesting some countries were failing to adhere to UN-imposed sanctions.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and the North's threats are expected to be high on the agenda when Moon meets US President Donald Trump in June.
Haley previously indicated that new sanctions could target oil, a critical import for North Korea mainly from China, and she said yesterday the United States also wants sanctions on organizations and businesses in third countries that are helping Pyongyang.
"Until the USA and its followers make the right choice, we will further produce sophisticated and diversified nuclear weapons and striking means and push to prepare for necessary tests", Yonhap cites North Korean diplomat Pak Jong-hak as saying.
While some observers suspected that Trump and Moon would have conflicting attitudes towards the North Korean threat, there has been a certain degree of overlap with regard to their ideas and approaches.
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