Newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-In talked with US President Donald Trump at his house in Seoul, South Korea [Image: Blue House]

Moon and Trump Talk Over Phone


After his inauguration on May 9th, South Korean president Moon Jae-In received a congratulatory phone call from President Trump. The US President lauded President Moon for his victory in the election, and the leaders discussed the US-ROK alliance as well as North Korea in the 30 minute call. The two presidents agreed to further strengthen their alliance and agreed on a joint effort to completely disarm North Korea of nuclear weapons. President Trump mentioned free trade —South Korea and the United States just celebrated the fifth anniversary of KORUS FTA — and invited President Moon to visit Washington, which Moon accepted. The trip has been scheduled for late June, according to the Korean government in Seoul.

Moon’s planned visit to Washington will mark the 37th time that a Korean leader made an official trip to the United States. In the past, Korean leaders have often addressed the Congress during visits to the United States. A special envoy from the South Korean government visited the White House — the first time in history — in preparation for Moon’s trip. President Trump met with the envoy in the Oval Office for a 15 minute meeting, during which a letter from President Moon was delivered. The envoy also spoke with the National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who, in addition to attending the meeting in the Oval Office, also met separately with the envoy for 40 minutes.

In addition to President Trump, state leaders from Japan, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, France, and the Netherlands also called to congratulate and discuss state issues with the new leader.

Yumiko Kozu is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and an exchange student at Dartmouth College.