South Korean President Moon Jae-in traveled to the United States this week for a series of meetings with President Donald Trump amid growing concerns over the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
The South Korean leader, who was elected in May, met with Trump and his top aides in Washington on Thursday and was scheduled to meet again Friday, LA Times reported.
But while both leaders are aiming for North Korea to finally put an end to its the nuclear programs, they have previously stated different approaches on how to make this happen.
Trump has indicated that pressuring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table through sanctions would be the way to do it, while Moon prefers to begin the talks with Pyongyang at an earlier time.
However, in interviews before his U.S. visit, Moon sought to allay concerns over the differences in the approach he has with Trump by stating that his strategy is consistent with the U.S. administration. Similarly, the White House also seemed to not be focusing on differences at the moment.
On Wednesday, Moon gave an emotional tribute to the United States Marines who fought in a fierce battle in the Korean War, according to AFP via SCMP.
During the ceremony, he recognized the help the soldiers provided in the mass evacuation of Korean civilians, which included his own parents.
“Together we will achieve the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program, peace on the Korean Peninsula and eventually peace in Northeast Asia,” Moon said, after laying a wreath at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.
Aside from North Korea, the South Korean leader has a couple of other things on his agenda to discuss with President Trump.
At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also on Wednesday, Moon trumpeted the further expansion of trade and business relations between the U.S. and South Korea.
The two leaders had their first meeting over dinner on Thursday at the White House for formal talks.
Just finished a very good meeting with the President of South Korea. Many subjects discussed including North Korea and new trade deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
“We accomplished a lot having to do with our thoughts on North Korea and very much our thoughts on trade,” Trump told reporters the next day in the Oval Office. “We are renegotiating a trade deal right now with South Korea, and hopefully it will be an equitable deal. It will be a fair deal for both parties. It’s been a rough deal for the US, but I think that it will be much different and will be good for both parties.”
“We’re also in the process of discussing our frankly many options. We have many options with respect to North Korea,” he added.
Moon told reporters that his discussions with the U.S. president generated mutual trust between them, the Independent reported.
“It was also an opportunity to reconfirm that the US and Korea are walking together on the same path towards a great alliance,” Moon was quoted as saying. “Last night, at the dinner with President Trump, we discussed various issues through a diverse scope and very honest discussions and on issues to include the North Korean nuclear issue and other issues of mutual interest.”