Trump due in Seoul for talks on N. Korea, alliance, FTA

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 7, 2017 - 09:40
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2017 - 09:40

US President Donald Trump was set to arrive here Tuesday on a two-day visit that will include bilateral talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in and a special speech at the National Assembly.

Trump will make the first state visit by a US president in 25 years, according to the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

His visit will follow his trip to Japan, where he said the North's nuclear ambition posed a "threat to the civilized world and international peace and stability." He also reiterated the "era of strategic patience" with the North was over.

President Donald Trump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to attend a joint press conference in the Rose Garden on June 30. (AP)

His talks with Moon will likely focus on ways to bring the reclusive North to denuclearization talks.

The South Korean leader has often emphasized that any pressure on the North should aim to change the way the communist regime behaves and encourage it to come to the dialogue table.

In their last bilateral summit, held on the sidelines of a U.N. gathering in New York in September, Moon and Trump stressed the need to put "the strongest pressure and sanctions against North Korea to deter North Korea's provocative activities and make it start taking steps toward denuclearization."

They are widely expected to introduce a more detailed action plan to increase pressure on the communist state. The countries have already agreed to boost the rotational deployment of US strategic assets to South Korea and its surrounding areas as a way of boosting the countries' combined deterrence, which they said will also include South Korea's development or acquisition of advanced defense capabilities.

Many other bilateral and regional issues also await the two leaders, who have so far held two bilateral meetings and two three-way summit talks involving Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Trump administration has demanded a revision of the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA) that went into effect five years ago, blaming it for the US' growing trade deficit with South Korea.

The process to modify the bilateral free trade pact was officially launched last month though Seoul insists the FTA has been and continues to be mutually beneficial.

How to share the burden of keeping 28,500 US troops here also remains what many believe to be a potential deal breaker, though few believe the upcoming defense cost sharing talks will cause any serious problem for the alliance.

Shortly after his arrival here, the US president will hold a meeting with the combined forces of South Korea and the US at Camp Humphreys, a US military base located some 40 kilometers south of Seoul in Pyeongtaek.

Moon and Trump will hold a joint press conference following their bilateral and expanded summit talks at Cheong Wa Dae.

A state dinner will be held at Cheong Wa Dae later in the day, involving some 120 top government officials and business leaders from the two countries.

On Wednesday, the US president will make a special speech at the National Assembly, becoming the first US president to do so in 24 years, according to Cheong Wa Dae officials.

He will later head to China, the third stop in his Asian tour that will also take him to Vietnam and the Philippines for a series of regional forums, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (Yonhap)