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Moon to meet Putin next month at Russian economic forum

Aug 23,2017
President Moon Jae-in will take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Sept. 6 and 7, during which he will have a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Blue House said Tuesday.

The presidential office did not specify on which one of the two days Moon will sit down with Putin.

Moon’s meeting with the Russian president comes after Russia was on board with other United Nations Security Council members on imposing the strongest-yet economic sanctions on North Korea on Aug. 5 for its two intercontinental missile launches in July.

Moon is expected to stress his position that while the current situation calls for pressure on the North, the ongoing gridlock should be solved in a diplomatic and peaceful manner without resorting to military action, a stance that is likely to be shared by Putin.

The upcoming meeting with Putin will be the second of its kind. The two leaders met in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit. Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum focuses on expanding business opportunities there. Moon could use the meeting with Putin to stress that North Korea should halt its nuclear and missile program and join with the South in seeking economic opportunities in Russia’s far-eastern region.

Moon then will embark on his second trip to the United States on Sept. 18 on a five-day schedule. The Blue House said he will deliver a keynote speech at the United Nations General Assembly that kicks off on Sept. 19 in New York. The main focus of his speech is expected to be how to better reign in the North’s nuclear program. He is also likely to re-emphasize his opposition to the use of a military option on the peninsula without Seoul’s consent.

The last time a South Korean president gave a keynote speech before UN members was in September 2015, when the disgraced former President Park Geun-hye highlighted gross human rights violations perpetuated by Pyongyang against its own people.

In November, Moon will participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam on the 10th and 11th. He will then fly to the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three, where Chinese and Japanese leaders will also attend on Nov. 13-14.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]