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(LEAD) Moon meets Pelosi, discusses alliance, N. Korea, vaccines

All News 07:43 May 21, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks by Moon, Pelosi)

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, May 20 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders Thursday, a day ahead of his summit with President Joe Biden.

Mainly discussed were issues related to the bilateral alliance and North Korea, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and economic partnerships, according to Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae.

While the coronavirus crisis has widened the "physical distance between peoples," it has proven that all mankind is linked as one, Moon said at the outset of the session held on Capitol Hill.

He stressed the importance of "solidarity and cooperation" via transborder communication and dialogue in order to overcome the pandemic and lay the groundwork for a better future.

"The South Korea-U.S. alliance, which has been solidified for 70 years, will be a model," he said in front of pool reporters.

Pelosi agreed that the alliance is not just about national security. She took note of Moon's initiative not just for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula but also for tackling climate change.

President Moon Jae-in (L) speaks in a meeting with members of the U.S. House of Representatives that was also attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol Hill in Washington on May 20, 2021. (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae stated later in a press release that they had "in-depth" consultations on ways to promote "substantive" cooperation between the countries.

Moon said that it is an inevitable task to achieve the complete denuclearization of Korea and establish permanent peace for the sake of peace and stability in the region.

"South Korea and the U.S. will have to move together toward getting it realized," he was quoted as saying.

He also noted that the Joe Biden administration has mapped out a "practical and sophisticated" strategy on North Korea through close coordination with South Korea, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

Moon pledged to provide support so that Washington's policy can be successful and emphasized the importance of resuming its dialogue with Pyongyang.

He requested continued support from U.S. Congress for peace and stability on the peninsula.

Regarding economic partnerships, the president cited South Korean companies' global competitiveness especially in the semiconductor and electric vehicle battery sectors.

He reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to close supply chain cooperation with the U.S. in those new industries. He asked U.S. Congress to back the proposed expansion of visa quotas for high-skilled workers.

Moon expressed hope that the two sides will cooperate more closely on the supply of coronavirus vaccines and health care policies. He cited South Korean firms' consignment production of vaccines.

On the Washington-Beijing relationship, he stressed the importance of its "stable" development, Cheong Wa Dae said. For South Korea, the U.S. is an ally that shares universal values and the alliance is the foundation for Seoul's diplomacy and security, he pointed out.

China is the largest trading partner of South Korea and an important partner in connection with the Korean Peninsula affairs, he added.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R), speaker of the House of Representatives, speaks in a joint conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Capitol Hill in Washington on May 20, 2021. (Yonhap)

With regard to Japan, Moon said South Korea is determined to seek to develop bilateral ties in a "forward-looking" way as "very important" neighbors.

Seoul hopes for a dialogue-based resolution to disputes over shared history and will continue diplomatic efforts for cooperation on such issues as climate change and COVID-19, the president said.

He also took note of Biden's leadership in efforts to bolster international cooperation in addressing the climate issue, as shown in his fulfillment of a promise for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Biden hosted a virtual summit of global leaders on climate in April as well.

Moon mentioned the Atlanta shooting incident in March, in which several Asian women, including four of Korean descent, were killed, and voiced concern about an increase in such crimes against Asian people.

He welcomed a bipartisan push for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by U.S. Congress and said South Korea will actively support such a campaign against violence.

Moon is scheduled to hold summit talks with Biden at the White House on Friday.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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