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Moon, Trump might meet at G-20 summit in Argentina

Nov 21,2018
President Moon Jae-in will attend the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires next week, and a bilateral meeting on its sidelines with U.S. President Donald Trump is also in the works.

Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said during a media briefing that the South Korean government was discussing a Moon-Trump summit with Washington, but that they have yet to conclude whether both leaders will actually meet. If they do, it will be their sixth summit.

In light of the fact that Washington and Pyongyang are discussing a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next January, Kim Eui-kyeom said the Blue House expected Moon to convey the South Korean government’s stance on the North Korean nuclear issue if he meets Trump.

Before traveling to Argentina, Moon will touch down in the Czech Republic next Tuesday, where he will stay until Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Andrej Babis and South Koreans living there. Moon will then fly to Buenos Aires on Nov. 29 to attend the G-20 Summit, meet with various world leaders on the sidelines of the summit and talk with South Koreans living in the South American country until Dec. 1. During his trip to Argentina, the Blue House spokesperson said that Moon was scheduled to hold a summit with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, which would be the first South Korean-Argentine summit in 14 years. From Dec. 2 to 4, Moon will travel to New Zealand on a state visit to meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dame Patsy Reddy.

Blue House officials hope that a summit between Moon and Trump will breathe fresh air into stalled denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang and hopefully add momentum to discussions between Pyongyang and Seoul on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul this year. In the Pyongyang Declaration, signed by Kim and Moon on Sept. 19 during their third summit, Kim agreed to visit Seoul “at an early date” at the invitation of Moon. The Blue House chief later explained to reporters that the words meant “by the end of this year,” unless “special circumstances” pop up.

But Pyongyang has yet to contact Seoul to discuss Kim’s visit, a Blue House official said on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity. Another Blue House official said that the South Korean government was preparing for Kim’s visit to Seoul based on Moon’s agreement with him last September, but that some local officials said his visit would hinge on progress made in U.S.-North negotiations.

A source with knowledge of the discussions between the United States and North Korea exclusively told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday that Washington has suggested to Pyongyang that they hold high-level negotiations in New York sometime between late November and early December. A high-level meeting scheduled on Nov. 8 was abruptly canceled just a day before.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]