Kim Hyun-chong, second deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, returned home after visiting Washington to coordinate agendas for summit talks between South Korea and the U.S. Upon arriving on Friday, Kim said the South Korean and U.S. leaders will meet in person and discuss the resumption of the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex and South Koreans’ tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang. Kim visited Washington for the first time since his inauguration on March 30, and met with his U.S. counterpart, Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, at the White House on Monday.
“We never mentioned the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours and the Kaesong industrial complex during this visit,” Kim told reporters at Incheon International Airport on the day. “As for these and other agendas and issues, the leaders will hold more in-depth discussions in person.” Kim thus indicated that resumption of Mount Kumgang tours and the Kaesong complex could be discussed during the South Korea-U.S. summit in Washington, which is scheduled on April 11, as “carrot” for the North to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiation table after the collapse of the Hanoi summit.
Chung Ui-yong, chief of the presidential National Security Office, told the parliamentary Steering Committee’s general meeting on Thursday that after the Hanoi summit U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that Seoul push for an inter-Korean summit before the South Korea-U.S. summit, adding however, “Conditions (for holding inter-Korean summit) were not favorable.” Considering this, the envisaged process seems to have changed to a scenario wherein the Seoul government will seek to hold an inter-Korean summit with outcomes of the upcoming South Korea-U.S. summit in place.
Kim also said that during his visit to Washington he held discussions about the U.S. Trade Expansion Act 232 through which Washington seeks to impose tariffs on imported automobiles including South Korean cars. “I mentioned (to the U.S.) that Washington needs to consider the measure more cautiously because it will not be helpful to global trade,” Kim said.
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