President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump will hold their eighth summit in Seoul in June to discuss North Korea and bilateral issues, Seoul and Washington’s presidential offices said Thursday.
“At the summit, the two leaders plan to discuss ways to strengthen the Korea-US alliance and to establish permanent peace through complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in a statement.
The meeting will be held at the end of June, around the time of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. The G-20 Summit is scheduled for June 28 and 29. Cheong Wa Dae did not specify the date of Trump’s visit, saying details are being discussed.
The Moon-Trump summit comes at a time of escalating tensions in inter-Korean, and US-North Korea relations.
North Korea conducted two weapons tests this month, with at least one of them believed to have involved short-range ballistic missiles.
Despite UN resolutions prohibiting North Korea from the use of ballistic missile technologies, Seoul and Washington have taken a soft approach to the matter.
During a televised interview on May 10, Moon said that while there is the possibility that the North violated UN resolutions, he believes Pyongyang is carefully calculating its moves, to avoid shutting down talks with the US.
Meanwhile, Trump has stated that he does not consider the missile launch a breach of trust by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He downplayed the significance of the actions, saying the missiles were short-range.
The US seizure of the North Korean cargo ship Wise Honest has also soured relations. North Korea has accused the US of robbery and violating the US-North Korea agreement from the Singapore summit.
According to US authorities, Wise Honest had been used to export North Korean coal, in violation of international sanctions.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official stressed that Seoul and Washington are closely cooperating, citing the frequency of meetings and telephone conversations between Moon and Trump.
Since Moon took office in May 2017, seven summits have been held, with the latest in Washington on April 11. Moon and Trump have held 21 telephone conversations.
In an attempt to facilitate US-North Korea dialogue -- halted since the Hanoi summit -- Moon publicly called for a summit with Kim soon after the April summit with Trump.
Moon reportedly has a message for Kim from Trump, which will be delivered in person if the fourth inter-Korean summit is arranged. North Korea has yet to respond to Moon’s call for the meeting.
The Cheong Wa Dae official declined to elaborate on the matter of an inter-Korean summit, saying only that “many discussions are under way.”
Regarding the agenda of the Moon-Trump summit, the official said North Korea’s denuclearization will be discussed and that the two sides will share intelligence on the matter.
As for Trump, he is scheduled to make a state visit to Japan on a four-day schedule from June 25, according to Japanese media. Trump is set to hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 27, and North Korea issues, including abducted Japanese citizens, are expected to be on the agenda.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org