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Moon's biggest mission in New York

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17.09.2019

By Choi Sung-jin

President Moon Jae-in will leave for New York City, Sunday, to attend the U.N. General Assembly and hold talks with his U.S. counterpart on the sidelines.

Most diplomatic watchers believe the main event of Moon's five-day U.S. visit will be his meeting with President Donald Trump, rather than the mostly ceremonial get-together of global leaders held annually around this time of year.

Usually, they may be right to suppose so, but it has to be different this year.

Much seems to be at stake in the Moon-Trump summit, the ninth such meeting over the past 28 months or so ― almost one every three months.

The South Korean leader will fly to America with three vital objectives. First of all, he needs to ensure that the U.S.-North Korea working-level denuclearization talks, which are likely to resume in a few weeks, will lead to the eventual nuclear disarmament of the reclusive country.

Second, Moon must fill the cracks in the formerly watertight alliance between South Korea and the United States, resulting, most recently, from his government's refusal to renew a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.

He may also have to stave off Trump's demand to raise Seoul's portion of the cost-sharing for stationing U.S. troops in South Korea to as high as $5 billion a year, five times the current amount.

Thirdly, Moon should persuade his U.S. counterpart to remain at least neutral in Seoul's diplomatic dispute with Tokyo. It would be best if Moon can get Trump to tell Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to........

© The Korea Times