S. Korea's leader willing to visit North, talk to US, China

"I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and, if the conditions are right, to Pyongyang also".

Moon assumed presidential duties early in the morning after the National Election Commission finished counting Tuesday's votes and declared him victor of the special election necessitated by the ousting of conservative Park Geun-hye, whose downfall and jailing on corruption charges is one of the most turbulent stretches in the nation's recent political history. "If conditions ripen and provide opportunities to significantly lower military tension in the Korean Peninsula and open a path toward solving the North Korean nuclear problem, which is the most urgent threat to our security, then I think (Moon) will be able to go to Pyongyang".

Lee Nak-yon, a regional governor who was a political ally of two former presidents who held summits with North Korea in 2000 and 2007 was nominated as prime minister.

Moon said he hopes to meet Xi at an early date and Xi formally invited Moon to visit Beijing, it said.

Japan has been concerned that Moon will take a tough line on feuds stemming from the bitter legacy of its 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean peninsula and could fray ties at a time when cooperation on North Korea is vital.

In a sign of Washington's growing concern about the North, the Central Intelligence Agency announced Wednesday its establishment of an integrated "Korea Mission Center".

Moon met leaders of opposition parties before his simple swearing-in ceremony at parliament, where his party lacks a majority, and promised to coordinate with them on national security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both congratulated Moon on Wednesday.

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"I take this office empty-handed, and I will leave the office empty-handed", Moon said.

Xi told Moon that China has always upheld the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which are in everyone's interests, according to the state television report. Xi said China was willing to handle disputes with South Korea "appropriately" on the basis of mutual trust and understanding.

North Korea has unveiled what it claims are satellite images of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system which was deployed by the United States military in South Korea, Seoul officials said on Thursday.

Abe said he looked forward to working with Moon to improve relations, describing South Korea as one of Japan's most important neighbours. Beijing sees the system as a threat to its own security. Moon made a campaign vow to reconsider THAAD.

The Prime Minister called Moon Jae-in to congratulate him on his election victory and to discuss the crisis around North Korea's nuclear weapons test programme.

It wasn't clear whether Moon used the conversation to call for a renegotiation of the deal.

However, the broadcast did not elaborate on when or how the photos were taken, the officials said.

Trump told Reuters in an interview last month major conflict with North Korea was possible though he would prefer a diplomatic outcome. The country hosts some 28,000 US forces.

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