Trump to meet Moon in S. Korea for talks on denuclearisation

Caricatures of US President Donald Trump (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un outside a shop in Seoul yesterday. Mr Trump and South Korea's Mr Moon Jae-in will discuss efforts to denuclearise the North.
Caricatures of US President Donald Trump (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un outside a shop in Seoul yesterday. Mr Trump and South Korea's Mr Moon Jae-in will discuss efforts to denuclearise the North.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump will visit South Korea next month to meet his counterpart, Mr Moon Jae-in, over their efforts to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons arsenal, the White House has said.

It will be the second meeting between the pair since the collapse of a summit between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February after they failed to reach a deal on denuclearisation.

"President Trump and President Moon will continue their close coordination on efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the White House said on Wednesday in a statement, using North Korea's official name.

The dovish South Korean President, who has long backed engagement with the nuclear-armed North, brokered the talks process between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, which led to their first landmark summit in Singapore last June.

But security allies Seoul and Washington have at times appeared to diverge on their approach to Pyongyang, and Seoul's simultaneous announcement of the visit was noticeably different in its phrasing.

A statement issued by the South's presidential office said the two leaders will discuss "establishing a lasting peace regime through the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" - rather than the North specifically.

 
 
 

The "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" was the term used in the joint statement signed by Mr Kim and Mr Trump after their first summit in Singapore.

But it is a phrase open to wide interpretation.

In the past, Pyongyang has argued it must include the removal of Washington's nuclear umbrella over the South and the 28,500 United States troops stationed in the country.

Mr Trump's trip to South Korea would combine with his visit to Japan, where he will attend a Group of 20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline 'Trump to meet Moon in S. Korea for talks on denuclearisation'. Print Edition | Subscribe