South Korea's new leader discusses North Korea, defence system with China's Xi

China has rigorously objected to the deployment, saying it destabilised the regional security balance and did little to curb the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which Pyongyang is conducting in defiance of USA pressure and United Nations sanctions.

Moon won South Korea's presidency in an election held on Tuesday, campaigning on a more conciliatory approach toward Pyongyang and ending almost ten years of hardline conservative rule in the South that focused on pressuring the reclusive North.

Many South Koreans, including most of the victims themselves, have rejected the agreement signed by Seoul's former conservative administration.

Moon is expected to have his first conversation with Trump in a phone call Wednesday, Yonhap news agency said, citing unnamed Seoul diplomats.

Xi, during the call, also expressed China's commitment to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through "dialogue", a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Moon explained the difficulties faced by South Korean companies that are doing business in China and asked for Xi's "special attention" to ease those concerns, Yoon said.

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The Korean won ticked up on Wednesday after Moon Jae-in was sworn in as president. The call to Moon took place just a day after he took office and comes amid increased regional tensions over North Korea as well as the deployment of a US missile-defense shield in South Korea. The South Korean president is expected to send a delegation to Beijing to discuss both North Korea and THAAD.

"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", Yoon told a press briefing.

Regional experts have believed for months that North Korea is 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.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner, with the latter exporting up to $142 billion each year to the country.

The Chinese government, however, denied any knowledge of such an order.

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