WASHINGTON/SEOUL • US President Donald Trump will host his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In at the White House at the end of the month to advance economic cooperation and discuss ways of strengthening the two countries' "ironclad" alliance.
"The leaders will also coordinate on North Korea-related issues, including countering the growing North Korean nuclear and missile threats," the White House said in a statement yesterday. The visit is set for June 29 to 30.
Tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula over the North’s nuclear and missile tests and its vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland, presenting Mr Trump with perhaps his most pressing security worry.
Mr Trump has also called Mr Kim a "madman with nuclear weapons" who could not be let on the loose.
Mr Moon wants to engage Pyongyang in dialogue and revive stalled exchanges with the reclusive regime, including economic cooperation projects, saying sanctions alone have failed to rein in its advancing weapons programme.
But the overture for warmer ties has been complicated by the defiant pursuit of nuclear and missile development by North Korea, which has conducted missile tests four times since Mr Moon’s election on May 10.
Meanwhile, Mr Moon’s office yesterday said he has nominated a veteran government official with long experience in handling ties with the North as his new unification minister.
The nominee, Mr Cho Myoung Gyon, has deep understanding of the new administration’s North Korea policy and the issues facing the two Koreas, the presidential office said.