Trump to host vital meeting with world leader


As North Korea continues to violate international sanctions to accelerate its missile program, President Trump will meet in Washington this week with Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s new president who supports engagement with the nuclear-armed North.

During his presidential campaign, Moon signaled that, as South Korea’s leader, he would be willing to visit Pyongyang before Washington, but he has chosen the U.S. as his first foreign destination following his inauguration last month after winning the election in a landslide.

The U.S. has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea to assist the country in its defense against North Korea which has performed five missile tests since Moon became president and has vowed to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that could reach the continental United States.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has classified North Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat.” One of Trump’s primary foreign policy priorities has been halting North Korea’s weapons development program.

Trump is in favor of tougher sanctions against North Korea to quash its nuclear ambitions and has said that military action against the country is possible, which would place South Korea under the threat of retaliation from the North.

Even so, analysts say the meeting between the two leaders is likely to be amicable, with the two getting a sense of one another.

According to John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure and engagement” has a wide range from diplomacy to sanctions, which is likely to “overlap” with that of Moon, who seeks diplomatic dialogue with the North but does not deny the need for sanctions.

“So there doesn’t have to be a train wreck over North Korea policy,” Delury said.

The Japan Times reported that “Also high on the agenda is likely to be a controversial U.S. missile-defense system that has been installed in South Korea to guard against missile threats from the North.”

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