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NK on top of agenda at Moon-Trump meeting

President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump are to meet Tuesday, as Seoul seeks to play the mediator between Pyongyang and Washington.

The meeting comes amid Pyongyang threats to call off the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled to be held in Singapore on June 12. 

President Moon Jae-in speaks with US President Donald Trump on Friday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in speaks with US President Donald Trump on Friday. Yonhap

Moon and Trump are expected to focus on the recent changes in Pyongyang’s tone and denuclearization plans for North Korea, continuing on from their telephone conversation on Friday.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, the two leaders discussed “various responses North Korea has recently shown” and agreed to cooperate in preparing for the US-North Korea summit.

North Korea has recently resumed its verbal attacks on the South and the US, taking issues with South Korea-US joint military exercises and a US official’s comments on a denuclearization model.

The North has accused Seoul of violating the Panmunjeom Declaration, and threatened to rethink the scheduled Kim-Trump summit at the mention of the Libya model of denuclearization.

North Korea’s criticism of Seoul and Washington continued Monday, through an article carried by the state-run Rodong Sinmun. In an apparent jab at Moon’s US trip, the article claimed that relying on foreign powers was “path to ruination.” The article also criticized the US for offering economic aid, saying that a number of countries have been fooled into believing that aid is essential in achieving economic growth.

In their fifth meeting, Moon and Trump will hold a one-on-one meeting around noon Tuesday, and hold a luncheon meeting with key aides in attendance.

According to sources, plans for North Korea‘s denuclearization process will also be high on the agenda.

The US maintains that the process must be swift, and that it will not make any concessions until the process is completed. North Korea, in contrast, is said to favor the so-called “action for action” approach with rewards for each phase of the denuclearization process.

Ahead of Tuesday’s summit meeting, Moon is scheduled to meet with top US national security and foreign affairs policymakers to seek closer collaboration in the weeks leading up to the US-North Korea summit.

With Pyongyang reverting to criticizing Seoul and Washington, the Moon administration has reiterated its self-appointed matchmaker role between Pyongyang and the US.

On Thursday, Seoul’s National Security Council stressed the role of mediator in the US-North Korea talks, saying that the government will “mediate through diverse South Korea-US, South-North channels.”

By Choi He-suk (