Trump to discuss North Korea, trade with South Korean president

President Moon Jae-in will also visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

June 29, 2017, 1:18 PM

— -- President Donald Trump will focus his first in-person meeting with the South Korean president largely on efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program and trade, according to a White House official.

President Moon Jae-in, a former human rights attorney and government official who was elected as South Korea's head of state in May after his predecessor was impeached, will join Trump at the White House Thursday afternoon for a reception and dinner, before meetings and a trip to the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Friday.

The White House said that putting pressure on North Korea will be central to their talks.

“He will talk about American commitments and reaffirm our commitments to South Korea, especially in light of the very urgent threat posed by North Korea," said a senior administration official who asked not to be named. "North Korea is going to be a major subject of conversation between the two -- coordinating the two governments on our approach to the North Korea threat and also talking on a range of other issues as well in the bilateral agreement, including trade.”

On trade, the president plans to raise concerns over barriers to U.S. auto sales and steel.

“There are aspects of the trade relationship that are not in balance," the senior official said, adding that it will be a friendly and frank discussion. “He will be, I think, forthright in talking about things like U.S. autos and the fact that there are still some barriers to U.S. auto sales in Korea; certainly, the enormous amount of steel that sometimes ends up being surplus Chinese steel that comes to the United States via South Korea.”

The official said that Trump and Moon are not expected to extensively discuss THAAD, the U.S.'s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system. Moon stopped additional development of the already-operational system -- intended to protect against the North Korean threat -- earlier in June until environmental concerns were addressed.

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