President Biden on Friday will host South Korean President Moon Jae-in for meetings focused on North Korea’s nuclear-armed tyrant Kim Jong Un.
Moon, who recently sparred with former President Donald Trump, will be Biden’s second foreign visitor following last month’s visit by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
A senior administration official told reporters on a White House-organized call that Biden and Moon will discuss “a broad-based agenda across many arenas — our values, regional security, technology, health, North Korea, and many other issues.”
The visit is expected to conclude with a joint press conference. Biden’s staff are expected to pick the two US journalists allowed to ask questions.
The senior official said Biden will seek to build upon a 2018 deal between Trump and Kim at a summit meeting in Singapore. That deal committed the hereditary Communist state to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump went on to meet with Kim in Vietnam and at Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, but without a more specific agreement.
“I’m not going to be able to go there much further beyond the general statement that we intend to build on the Singapore agreement, but also other agreements made by previous administrations,” the official said.
The official said “you can expect that a significant amount of the upcoming visit will be spent discussing the challenges of [North Korea] and how our two countries can move forward together in dialogue and deterrence.”
Moon will leave office next year due to South Korea’s one-term limit on presidents.
The South Korean leader slammed Trump in a recent interview, saying he “beat around the bush and failed to pull it through” on disarming North Korea.
Trump shot back that Moon was “weak” and ungrateful for his work to pacify Kim.
“Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who I have gotten to know (and like) under the most trying of circumstances, never respected the current President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in,” Trump said.
“I was always the one who stopped the aggression toward the South, but unfortunately for them, I am no longer there. President Moon was weak as a leader and as a negotiator, except when it came to the continued, long term military ripoff of the USA (as is the case with many other countries we protect!).”
South Korea in March agreed to increase payments to the US for stationing 28,500 troops in the country. South Korea will pay the US government $1 billion in 2021, a 13.9 percent increase over 2020. Trump campaigned for increased cost sharing by South Korea and other countries where US troops contribute to regional security.