Moon thanks envoys for jobs well done

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Moon thanks envoys for jobs well done

President Moon Jae-in expressed his satisfaction Wednesday for the special envoys’ recent trips to the United States, China and Japan, saying their visits served as opportunities to clarify his government’s stances on thorny diplomatic issues.

Moon met with his special envoys, who completed their trips to Washington, Beijing and Tokyo last week. Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of the Korean Peninsula Forum, visited the United States and had a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and other senior officials.

Former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan met with Chinese President Xi Jinping; Rep. Moon Hee-sang of the Democratic Party met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In the meeting on Wednesday, Moon was briefed by the special envoys about their trips and praised them for having jump-started the administration’s efforts to restore diplomacy with major countries. “Because the state affairs were in a serious chaos for a long time, our diplomacy had a vacuum,” Moon said. “But you have filled the gaps instantly.”

He also said the delegations were formed to best deal with each country and he is impressed with the outcomes. The envoys all met with the state leaders and had candid discussions on various pending issues, Moon said.

The controversies surrounding the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system and his predecessor’s deal with Japan to settle the long-running diplomatic battle over the Japanese military’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women were addressed during the envoys’ visits, Moon said, adding that his government’s positions were satisfactorily delivered.

“Regarding the Thaad issue and the Korea-Japan comfort women agreement, I believe we were able to say what we need to say,” Moon aid. “And we have to have summits with those countries in the future and I believe the trips were meaningful as preparations for the summits.”

Following the meeting, the Blue House issued a statement to summarize their discussion. “The top U.S. priority is the North’s nuclear crisis, so now is actually a great opportunity to resolve the issue,” Hong was quoted as saying to Moon. Hong also said he had a serious discussion with Trump.

Lee told Moon China wants to have a presidential summit soon. “The two countries had a very serious talk to exchange opinions on the Thaad issue,” Lee was quoted as saying.

Moon, the special envoy to Japan, said Abe expressed hope to hold a summit with Moon as soon as possible to restore the two countries’ trust. “But the envoy confirmed that the two countries have different positions on the pending issues,” the Blue House said.

Meanwhile, the Blue House said Wednesday that Moon appointed two senior officials of the National Security Office. Lee Sang-chul, a Sungshin University professor and former defense ministry official, was named as the first vice chief of the office. Kim Ki-jung, a political science professor from Yonsei University, was named the second vice chief.

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

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