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Korea's presidential envoy meets with Trump

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Published : 2017-05-18 09:31
Updated : 2017-05-18 09:31

WASHINGTON -- A special envoy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, an official said.

Special envoy Hong Seok-hyun held the meeting with Trump at the White House for 10 minutes from 3:50 p.m. and handed him a letter from Moon, the official said. Also in attendance were National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, the official said.

US special envoy Hong Seok-hyun (Yonhap)

It was the first time Trump has met with a South Korean official since taking office.

Further details were not immediately available.

Hong arrived in Washington earlier in the day on a mission to deliver Moon's letter to Trump and lay the groundwork for the first summit between the two leaders. His visit came after White House Asia Director Matt Pottinger visited Seoul earlier this week and the two countries agreed to hold a summit between Moon and Trump in Washington in late June.

Hong told reporters upon arrival that Moon asked to convey to the US government and the public his thoughts on the Korea-US alliance and the deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system.

THAAD is expected to be a key topic for Hong's discussions with US officials.

During the campaign, Moon was critical of the THAAD deployment decision, arguing that it was made without due process to collect public opinion. Presidential aides say the stance does not necessarily mean Moon is opposed to the deployment.

Trump fueled opposition to THAAD among the South Korean public by demanding the South pay for the $1 billion system. The demand runs counter to a deployment agreement in which the US agreed to pay for the system if the South agrees to host it and provide land.

Hong said he does not believe the two countries are at odds over THAAD.

Hong also said he will also outline Moon's stance on North Korea to US officials so as to dispel any misperceptions. (Yonhap)