By Xu Aiying and Kim Young Shin
President Moon Jae-in, on a visit to New York to attend the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, held bilateral summits with the U.S. and Japanese leaders to discuss denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon first met with U.S. President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 at the Lotte New York Palace hotel. They discussed the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Pyeongyang and talked about ways Korea and the U.S. could cooperate on settling a permanent peace in the region. This fifth bilateral summit between the two leaders was held only four days after the inter-Korean summit.
“It’s hugely significant that Chairman Kim personally expressed his commitment to denuclearization in front of world media, and that I highlighted, once again, the denuclearization agreement reached with Chairman Kim in front of 150,000 citizens of Pyeongyang,” said President Moon. “Now, North Korea’s decision to relinquish its nuclear program has been made official to such a degree that not even those within North Korea can reverse it.”
“Chairman Kim also repeatedly conveyed his unwavering trust and expectations for President Trump and his hope to meet President Trump at an early date to swiftly conclude the denuclearization process,” said President Moon. “I look forward to seeing another U.S.-North Korea summit take place, and to see a great outcome.”
The U.S. president said, “We’ll be having a second summit with Chairman Kim in the not too distant future.”
After their summit, the two leaders signed a revised free trade agreement (FTA) and promised to take measures to apply the revisions as soon as possible.
“With the swift conclusion of negotiations on the revision of the FTA, companies in both countries will now be able to do business under more stable conditions,” said President Moon. “If our two countries could live up to the spirit embodied in the revised ROK-U.S. FTA, I believe that we will be able to expand mutual trade and investment, create new jobs, and usher in a better future.”
After exchanging signed FTA documents, President Trump handed the pen he used to President Moon, giving him a surprise gift. Referring to the revision of the FTA as “a historic milestone in trade,” Trump said, “This agreement will reduce bureaucracy and increase prosperity in both of our countries.”
President Moon Jae-in also held a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York on Sept. 25 to discuss ways to develop the relationship between Seoul and Tokyo.
President Moon outlined the results of the inter-Korean summit held in Pyeongyang. He emphasized the importance of dialogue between North Korea and Japan, and the improvement of their relationship, in order to bring forward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and so as to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.
The president said to his Japanese counterpart that he suggested to Chairman Kim three times that he improve relations with Japan and that he return Japanese citizens held captive in Pyeongyang. President Moon said that the North Korean leader also expressed his desire to resume talks with Japan at an appropriate time. The prime minister said that he will continually seek ways to directly talk to Chairman Kim, and asked for the Korean government’s support in such matters.
President Moon Jae-in, attending the U.N. General Assembly for the second time since coming to office, has a busy schedule in New York. On Sept. 24, he attended a meeting of the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem at the United Nations, jointly hosted by 28 countries, and met with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutterres to ask for the U.N.’s support to build peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Finally, on the following day, President Moon delivered a speech about the improvements made over the past year in terms of the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He spoke at a special event co-hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Korea Society and the Asia Society.