S.Korea, Japan seek to lower tensions over 'comfort women'

South Korea says it wants to reopen communications with North amid missile crisis

Greeting South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan in Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bilateral relations have made vast progress over the years.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was infuriated by dispatch of a US Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the peninsula, later joined by the USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine armed with Tomahawk missiles of its own. "He also asked me to come and engage in deep dialogue".

Moon won an election last week campaigning on a more moderate approach to the North and said after taking office that he wanted to pursue dialogue as well as pressure to stop the North's weapons programmes.

Left-leaning Moon favours engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, but after Sunday's missile launch said dialogue would be possible "only if Pyongyang changes its behaviour".

China has suggested to visiting South Korean envoys it is willing to work towards easing retaliation for Seoul's decision to deploy THAAD missile defense.

But a senior North Korean diplomat has said Pyongyang was open to having talks with Washington under the right conditions.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters in late April that a "major, major conflict" with the North was possible, but he said he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programs.

Before an emergency meeting of the council Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley declared: "You either support North Korea or you don't, but you have to choose".

Kim accused the council of playing "to the tune of the USA again" and protested the Trump administration's demand for countries to choose allegiance between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, his country's official name.

Under the leadership of Kim, North Korea has been speeding up its pursuit of a decades-long goal of developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland.

The UN Security Council "strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launches" conducted by North Korea on April 28 and May 13, the 15-nation UN body said in a statement. Experts say the "medium long-range" Hwasong-12 missile the North fired on Sunday achieved a higher altitude and longer flight time than any other missile the country has tested.

"If this goes to a military solution it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale, and so our effort is to work with the United Nations, work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation", Mattis said at a news conference.

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