Moon, Trump to hold talks Monday on peace process in New York

September 19, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in hopes to focus on how to move forward the Korea peace process when he holds summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in New York next week, as Pyongyang-Washington negotiations are expected to resume soon, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

Their ninth bilateral summit will be held Monday on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly session, according to Choi Jong-kun, presidential secretary for peace planning. The exact time and venue will be announced later via a coordination with the White House, he added.

In the meeting, Moon will “discuss ways for cooperation for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of permanence peace,” Choi said at a press briefing.

Other agenda items include “various methods” to further strengthen the Seoul-Washington alliance and pending regional issues, he said.

It would be their first face-to-face talks since Japan introduced stricter export restrictions against South Korea in apparent retaliation over a historical issue. In response to Tokyo’s removal of Seoul from its so-called trade whitelist, the Moon administration decided to terminate a bilateral accord on exchanging military information. The U.S. has expressed concern about the potential negative impact on trilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia.

Washington is also pressing Seoul to pay more for the U.S. Forces Korea and contribute to security-related operations in the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking to reporters later, a Cheong Wa Dae official did not rule out the possibility that such issues will be raised in the upcoming Moon-Trump talks.

However, South Korea would like to concentrate on the North Korea issue, as the summit comes just ahead of working-level nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, the official said.

He pointed out the significance of an inter-Korean summit agreement reached in Pyongyang a year earlier.

The Sept. 19 deal is a “strut” to support denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea, he said.

As shown in recent summit talks involving the two Koreas and the U.S., an improvement in inter-Korean ties leads to progress in Pyongyang-Washington relations, he added.

“What’s important is to connect the current, rather stable situations with permanent peace and denuclearization,” the official said.

The Korea peace process, based on Moon’s warm approach toward Pyongyang, is going through another “political wave” created after the June 30 gathering of the leaders of the three sides at the DMZ village of Panmunjom, he said.

Meanwhile, Moon is scheduled to arrive in New York on Sunday. The following day, he will meet separately with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and attend the U.N. Climate Action Summit and an event to prepare for a P4G summit. P4G stands for Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, a new climate alliance aiming to become a new engine to drive eco-friendly growth.

On Tuesday, Moon will deliver a keynote speech at the U.N. session on Seoul’s efforts for peace on the peninsula and its pursuit of continued international support.

He plans to meet International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach as well, with South Korea bidding to host the 2032 Summer Olympics together with North Korea.

He is also scheduled to hold a series of bilateral summits with his counterparts from Poland, Denmark and Australia, as well as taking part in a ceremony to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the request of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Moon is joining the annual U.N. session for the third consecutive year. This year’s meeting is expected to draw a total of 151 top leaders of 100 member states.

Moon’s participation in it will serve as a chance to drum up the international community’s support for the Korea peace process and expand Seoul’s contribution to dealing with such global issues as climate change and sustainable development, Cheong Wa Dae said.

During its weekly standing committee session, Cheong Wa Dae’s National Security Council (NSC) also discussed Moon’s upcoming diplomacy in New York.

During the meeting, presided over by Chung Eui-yong, director of the presidential security office, NSC members agreed to make efforts to turn it into an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation on the goal of achieving complete denuclearization and lasting peace, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

On the Moon-Trump summit, they decided to make preparations for mapping out “concrete and constructive” methods to beef up the alliance.

With regard to the recent drone terror attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, they reviewed regional security conditions and discussed South Korea’s measures to minimize its impact.

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