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Trump will make stop in Korea on his Asia trip

May 17,2019
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Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump will visit Korea next month to discuss North Korea and other issues between Seoul and Washington, presidential offices of the two leaders said Thursday.

Trump will visit Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in in late June as a part of a trip to Asia to attend the Group of 20 Summit in Japan, presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said Thursday morning. The Group of 20 Summit is scheduled to take place in Osaka from June 28 to 29.

“At the upcoming summit, the two leaders will discuss plans to create a permanent peace regime through a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula based on close cooperation between the two countries and to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance,” Ko said.

It will be Trump’s second presidential trip to Korea - the first was in November 2017 - and his eighth meeting with Moon. Their latest meeting took place on April 11 at the White House.

“President Trump and President Moon will continue their close coordination on efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of the [North],” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“The two leaders will also discuss ways to strengthen the [U.S.-Korea] alliance and the friendship between our two peoples.”

Following the official announcements from the two presidential offices, a senior Blue House official said a more specific schedule and the summit agenda will be discussed through diplomatic channels in the coming weeks.

“Basically, the summit will address discussions for a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” she said. “Various situations and information considering the two countries will also be shared.”

Asked if a Korea-U.S.-Japan summit will take place on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit, the official said, “I am not at a stage to confirm any other summits.”

The official also responded cautiously to a question about an inter-Korean summit taking place before the U.S.-Korea summit next month. She said various discussions are currently ongoing, but she could not elaborate.

Moon has been pushing for another inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, although the young strongman warned him to stop playing the role of Washington’s mediator.

After the April summit in Washington, sources at the Blue House have said Moon is carrying a message from Trump to be relayed to Kim.

On April 15, Moon said the time has come to prepare for an inter-Korean summit, adding, “Trump also said a trilateral summit among the two Koreas and the United States is possible if Kim is determined.”

Earlier this month, Moon had a phone conversation with Trump and won his support for Seoul’s plan to send food aid to the North. He made yet another push for an inter-Korean summit during a special interview with KBS on May 10, although the North conducted military provocations, including missile launches, just before it.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]