Seoul, Nov 7 (IANS) US President Donald Trump arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day trip and began summit-level talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in focussing mainly on North Korea’s nuclear threats and a proposed revision of the bilateral free trade agreement.
Trump arrived in South Korea earlier in the day, making him the first US leader in 25 years to make a state visit to the country, reports Yonhap News Agency.
South Korea is the President’s second stop in his five-nation tour through Asia.
Before the talks, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae conducted an official welcoming ceremony for Trump. The two leaders then inspected a 300-member honour guard.
The talks were largely expected to focus on their joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea and on ways to strengthen the countries’ alliance.
Pyongyang staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far on September 3.
Trump said trade issues will be high on the agenda.
“We have a terrific meeting scheduled on trade in a little while with President Moon and his representatives,” he said while meeting US troops at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
“We will be meeting with the various generals about the situation in North Korea. I think ultimately it will all work out, it always works out, it has to work out.”
Camp Humphreys, located 70 km south of Seoul, was the first stop in Trump’s trip to the country. He was joined at the base by Moon for lunch with South Korean and US service members there.
At the Camp, Moon said: “I wish to express my appreciation and respect to all South Korean and US service members… It is said hard times will always reveal true friends. You are our true friends who bled with us when South Korea was at its worst.”
He highlighted the importance of the Korea-US alliance, calling it a cornerstone of peace and prosperity not only on the peninsula but in the entire region.
“You are the very strong cornerstone and future of the Korea-US alliance. Let us together create peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying.
The bilateral summit will be followed by an expanded summit, involving several top government officials from both countries, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon and Trump will also hold a joint press conference on the outcome of their talks later in the day.
On Wednesday, the US President is expected to deliver a speech to the South Korean Parliament before heading to China for the next leg of his trip.
He is also scheduled to stop at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits in Vietnam and the Philippines, respectively.
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