South Korea's President Moon Jae-in as he leaves his house in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2017.
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in as he leaves his house in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2017.

South Korea's newly-inaugurated President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday he was prepared to visit North Korea and was ready to negotiate with China and the United States over a controversial anti-missile defence system deployed in his country soon after he was sworn in on Wednesday.

Tensions are high over the North's weapons ambitions and Moon – who backs engagement with Pyongyang – said he would work for peace.

"If needed I will fly to Washington immediately," he said.

He declared his willingness to visit the nuclear-armed North, saying "I will also go to Beijing and Tokyo and even Pyongyang in the right circumstances."

"Moon has been stern with the US, telling them no preemptive strike on North Korea without our cooperation; that's rather appealing for South Koreans." said Kim Ji-yoon, the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Moon took the oath of office in a simple ceremony in the domed rotunda hall of the parliament building, a day after his liberal Democratic Party's decisive victory in a snap election called to find a replacement for Park Geun-hye.

Park was ousted in March over a corruption scandal. She is currently in jail.

TRT World's Joseph Kim has more from Seoul.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies