South Korean President Moon Jae-in (second from right) bumps fists with a US military official after arriving at the Joint Base Andrews near Washington on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Capitol Hill for a meeting with Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, and other leaders of the chamber, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.
He is expected to request congressional support for the Korea peace process and Seoul’s bid to emerge as a global vaccine production hub.
Moon will hold a summit with Biden at the White House on Friday afternoon.
It will mark their first face-to-face meeting. The two plan to announce the results of their talks in an ensuing joint press conference.
President Moon arrived in the United States on Wednesday for summit talks with Biden on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation, North Korea, alliance issues and bilateral economic partnerships.
The summit is expected to set the tone for overall relations between the allies during the remainder of Moon’s presidency to end in May 2022.
In his first official activity of a five-day trip to the United States, the South Korean president was scheduled to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday.
Moon will pay tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, located on the outskirts of the capital, on Thursday morning.
He is to lay a wreath at the monument dedicated to fallen American service members whose remains have not been identified, including those from the 1950-53 Korean War.
Moon made three previous trips to Washington since his inauguration in 2017 but it will be his first visit to the cemetery, which the US calls the country’s “most hallowed ground.”
Earlier, Moon said he has “high expectations” for his first overseas trip since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moon hopes for an accomplishment in discussions on vaccines.
“I will use this visit to the US as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation on vaccines and (for South Korea) to move toward the goal of becoming a global hub for vaccine production,” the president said publicly earlier this week.
South Korea is striving to advance the shipment of US-made vaccines under existing contracts, and it is also seeking to sign additional deals, including those on technology transfer for local production. Among the options under consideration is a vaccine swap deal.
North Korea is another key topic. Moon wants to ensure that the allies will keep in lockstep with each other in dealing with Pyongyang. He also hopes for a breakthrough in efforts to revive the long-stalled Korea peace process.
Observers are paying attention to whether Moon will secure Biden’s commitment to inheriting the 2018 Singapore agreement between his predecessor Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Joint Press Corps)