The President of the Republic of Korea is at the White House. Moon Jae-in is having dinner with U.S. President Donald Trump in their first meeting.
There are a lot of topics to discuss, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But just hours before President Moon’s arrival, the U.S. slapped new sanctions on Chinese entities that are supposedly funding the DPRK’s nuclear program.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
Beijing did not immediately react to the announcement by the U.S. But China has increased pressure on Pyongyang. It’s been an active backer of additional United Nations sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Earlier this year, China suspended coal exports to Pyongyang. There are also reports that China’s national oil company will do the same with oil.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary insists the sanctions are not a message to China and that other entities it believes are funding the DPRK nuclear program are also in his crosshairs.
“We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters. “We will be meeting with China and others at G20 next week to further our efforts to cut off North Korea’s elicit activities.”
Mnuchin would not respond to questions about whether he gave his Beijing counterpart notification that the sanctions were coming.
U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster says Trump has been clear to all U.S. government departments: “He will not tolerate a North Korea [DPRK] that can reach the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.”
U.S. President Donald Trump and the Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in began their bilateral summit over dinner. It looks like Trump is expecting to talk well into the night in search of a solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
“I know you have been discussing with our people some of the complexities of North Korea and trade and other things and will be discussing tomorrow as we progress and it could be very well be late into the evening,” President Trump said.
KOREAN NUCLEAR ISSUE AT CENTER OF MOON-TRUMP SUMMIT
Over the course of President Moon’s visit to Washington, both in meetings on Capitol Hill and with the U.S. business community Wednesday, President Moon sought to reassure Americans that Seoul is still worthy of financial investment. He pledged time and time again to resolve the Korean nuclear issue.
“The new Korean government makes all its efforts to resolving the North Korea nuclear issue, based on the firm ROK-U.S. alliance. I have a plan in place, and a strong commitment to doing so,” he told major U.S. corporations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday night. “During the process of realizing my government’s plan, you will be able to invest in Korea with no concerns. And furthermore, you could also gain an opportunity to invest in North Korea at some point in the future.”
Moon’s approach to resolving the Korean nuclear issue is vastly different than the strategy the White House has pursued. While Trump has prioritized Pyongyang de-denuclearizing to achieve negotiations, Moon has emphasized engagement with DPRK leader, Kim Jong-un saying it could come as early as the end of the year.
Washington and Seoul are also at odds over the controversial U.S. anti-missile defense system known as THAAD. Moon has suspended its installation, pending an environmental review. Washington agreed to install the system under Moon’s predecessor, former President Park Geun-Hye, and insists its to protect Seoul from Pyongyang in the event of an attack.
After dining together with their wives on Thursday night, Presidents Trump and Moon will have a full day of meetings Friday, culminating with a joint statement in the afternoon. As of Thursday afternoon, there were no plans for either leader to take reporter questions.
John Park on ROK President visit to the US
For some expert analysis on the meeting between the presidents of the ROK and the U.S., CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke to John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Jonathan Pollock on US-ROK ties
For more on ROK President Moon Jae-in’s meeting with U.S. President Donald, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Jonathan Pollack. He is an expert on East Asian international politics and security at the Brookings Institution.