Ahead of summit with Trump, Pres. Moon receives useful tips from Richard Haass

Posted on : 2017-06-22 14:49 KST Modified on : 2017-06-22 14:49 KST
US foreign policy expert advises Moon to emphasize all the times South Korea has fought alongside the US military
President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Richard Haass
President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Richard Haass

On June 21, President Moon Jae-in met with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and asked Haass to help him “convey a positive message about developing the South Korea-US alliance to the US government and public around the time of the South Korea-US summit.” Haass is considered one of the leading US experts on foreign relations and is also reportedly the only figure in the foreign policy establishment who is liked and respected by US President Donald Trump. Moon also received some useful tips from Haass about how to establish rapport with Trump, who he will be meeting for the first time during the South Korea-US summit in Washington on June 29 and 30.

Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun related that, during his 50-minute meeting with Haass in the Blue House on the morning of June 21, Moon said that he “seeks to establish personal trust and friendship with President Trump during the summit” and that “he hopes to use this to move forward with the US and South Korea’s shared goals of denuclearization aimed at the complete dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, establishing a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula and securing the peace and security of Northeast Asia.” Haass responded by expressing his “agreement with President Moon’s plan.”

Moon asked Haass for “advice about what approach he should take when meeting President Trump.” “I think that he [President Trump] will like it if you explain how your personal story fits into contemporary Korean history. The conversation will probably go smoothly if you talk about South Korea’s history of joining the US military in various places around the world,” Haass was quoted as saying by the Blue House spokesperson. “Emphasize the fact that South Korea is the only US ally that has continued to fight alongside the US,” he urged.

During a lecture at the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies the day before, Haass argued that North Korea‘s denuclearization is an “unrealistic goal.” “Given North Korea’s nuclear development program, it’s not appropriate to delay the THAAD deployment,” Haass argued. During Haass and Moon’s meeting at the Blue House, however, no specific mention was reportedly made of THAAD, though the Blue House spokesperson did note that “Haass briefly mentioned that when he goes to China on June 22 he will be making the case that THAAD is designed to protect South Korea from the North Korean threat and so China doesn‘t need to worry about it.”

By Lee Jung-ae, staff reporter

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