President Moon Jae-in has urged U.S. President Joe Biden to engage North Korea to help resolve a protracted stalemate in negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In an interview with The New York Times posted on Wednesday, President Moon said the starting point to resolving the matter would be the U.S. and the North sitting down face-to-face at an early date.
He hoped Biden will go down as a historic president who made substantive and irreversible progress in the complete denuclearization of and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The interview, conducted at the presidential office last Friday, comes ahead of Moon’s first summit with Biden in Washington next month and at a time when the Biden administration is said to be finalizing its policies on the North.
President Moon assessed former U.S. President Donald Trump’s North Korea policies as "beating around the bush" that failed to achieve complete success. But he said building on Trump’s progress, not discarding it, will enable the Biden administration to reap its fruits.
He called for “gradual and phased” steps toward denuclearization and urged Washington and Pyongyang to exchange concessions and incentives simultaneously.
Regarding U.S. and China relations, President Moon said the deterioration of their relations could undermine all efforts for denuclearization. He urged the U.S. to cooperate with China on North Korea and global issues including climate change.