Moon to have summit with Biden in May

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Moon to have summit with Biden in May

President Moon Jae-in, left, will have a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in the United States in May, the Blue House said Friday.  [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in, left, will have a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in the United States in May, the Blue House said Friday. [YONHAP]

 
President Moon Jae-in will hold a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden next month in Washington D.C., the Blue House said Friday.  
 
According to the Blue House, Moon will visit the U.S. capital at the invitation of Biden in the second half of May. The two leaders are expected to discuss efforts to advance the Korea-U.S. alliance and North Korea, Kang Min-seok, Moon’s spokesman, said.  
 
According to Kang, the two countries are continuing discussions to finalize Moon’s schedule and more specifics will be announced later.  
 
The White House also announced Moon’s visit.  
 
“President Biden looks forward to welcoming President Moon of the Republic of Korea to the White House in the second half of May,” said Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday during a regular press briefing. “We’re still finalizing the date for that. But this visit — following the recent two-plus-two visit to Seoul by Secretaries Blinken and Austin, and the National Security Advisor’s trilateral meeting in Annapolis — will highlight the ironclad U.S.-South Korea alliance and the longstanding ties and friendships between the people of our two countries.”  
 
Moon’s summit with Biden will take place about a month after a U.S.-Japan leaders summit. Biden will meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday, U.S. time, at the White House.  
 
“And it is significant that our first bilateral meeting, in person, is with Japan,” Psaki said. “It emphasizes our important relationship and all of the cooperative work we have to do together.
 
“I will say that, of course, our approach to China and our shared coordination and cooperation on that front will be part of the discussion, as will our joint commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea,” she said. “Security will be a prominent issue — regional security — as well.”  
 
A senior U.S. official told the Reuters Thursday that frosty relations between Seoul and Tokyo will be addressed at the Biden-Suga summit.  
 
“It is concerning to us, even to the point of being painful, for us to see relations between Japan and South Korea fall to the current level,” the U.S. official said.
 
“The political tensions are such that we believe it actually impedes all of our abilities to be effective in Northeast Asia and I think the president will want to discuss this in some detail with Prime Minister Suga.”
 
Tensions between Korea and Japan escalated again earlier this week after Seoul lodged a series of protests with Tokyo over its decision to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years. One of the protests was directly made by Moon to the ambassador of Japan.  
 
The Blue House said in a press release that Biden’s decision to host Moon at an early date - the second foreign leader to have a summit at the White House after Suga – shows that the new U.S. administration attaches great importance to the Korea-U.S. alliance.  
 
Moon's visit to the United States will be his fourth trip for a bilateral summit. He had bilateral summits with President Donald Trump in June 2017, May 2018 and April 2019. In addition, Moon took trips to the U.S. to attend the UN General Assembly.  
 
 
BY SER MYO-JA   [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]  
 
 
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