May 17, 2017 09:43
President Moon Jae-in will go to Washington in late June to meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.
The trip comes at an anxious time for Seoul amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and a heavy U.S. naval presence in nearby waters. Trump has also threatened to revise a bilateral free trade agreement and make South Korea pay more for the upkeep of U.S. forces here.
On Tuesday, Moon met with Matthew Pottinger, the visiting senior director for East Asia at the White House's National Security Council, and told him he would like to meet Trump "to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral alliance and to continue close cooperation in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat," presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters.
"They agreed to mobilize all available means including sanctions and dialogue" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, Yoon added.
Pottinger also met with Chung Eui-yong, a former envoy to the UN in Geneva who now leads Cheong Wa Dae's security team. The two agreed that the ultimate goal is the complete disposal of North Korean nuclear weapons.
"The U.S. reaffirmed its steadfast pledge to defend the South and to strengthen joint efforts to suppress North Korea's provocations," Yoon said.
Meanwhile, Moon spoke on the phone to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is also expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis with the leaders of China, Japan and Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Germany in early July.
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