Moon, Trump to hold summit on April 11 in Washington

president_donald_j-_trump_with_the_president_of_the_republic_of_south_korea_moon_jae-in_at_a_bilateral_meeting_monday_sept-_24_2018_at_the_lotte_new_york_palace_in_new_york-_43981530725President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, plan to hold a summit on April 11 in Washington D.C. the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday, amid a stalemate in nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea. Moon will arrive in the U.S. on April 10 and hold a summit with Trump the following day, the seventh of its kind, his office said. It will be their first meeting since the breakdown of last month’s summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. “The leaders will have in-depth talks to discuss ways to strengthen the Seoul-Washington alliance and to coordinate their stance on setting up a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization,” Yoon Do-han, senior secretary for public relations, said at a briefing. Their meeting comes after Trump and Kim ended the Hanoi summit without any agreement due to differences on the scope of North Korea’s denuclearization and sanctions relief by Washington.

 

The U.S. said the North demanded the lifting of sanctions “in their entirety” in exchange for its offer to dismantle only the main Yongbyon nuclear complex. Washington wants denuclearization in other areas, reportedly including uranium enrichment facilities hidden elsewhere. But the North claimed that it only demanded partial relief of sanctions linked to people’s livelihoods and that the U.S. pressed the North to do more in addition to removing the Yongbyon facilities. The U.S. said it remains open to dialogue with North Korea despite the summit breakdown and will seek denuclearization talks while maintaining pressure and sanctions on the North. The summit comes amid concerns that Seoul’s possible push for a resumption of key inter-Korean projects may deepen a rift with Washington, which is maintaining its pressure campaign on North Korea until it gives up nuclear weapons.

 

Seoul is cautiously seeking ways to reopen the shuttered industrial complex in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong and resume a long-suspended tour on the North’s Mount Kumgang within the framework of the U.N. sanctions. An official at Cheong Wa Dae, asking not to be named, said that the upcoming Moon-Trump summit indicates that top-down diplomacy will be vigorously pursued to break the current stalemate. When asked about whether the two Koreas are communicating with each other, the official said that they have yet to begin consultations in earnest following the Hanoi summit. “It is too early to discuss the possibility of an inter-Korean summit. But the government hopes that the summit can be held at an early date,” he added. Moon and Kim held three summits last year as part of the Winter Olympic-driven rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula. Despite Kim’s agreement to visit Seoul “at an early date” during his summit with Moon in Pyongyang in September last year, nothing has been decided amid little progress in its denuclearization talks with the U.S.

 

(Yonhap)

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