Moon talks with Congress about COVID-19, security of Korean peninsula


South Korean President Moon Jae-in began two days of high-level meetings in Washington on Thursday by telling congressional leaders that the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of greater international cooperation.

“I hope that a series of dialogues between our two countries … will deepen our bilateral cooperation in not only establishing peace on the Korean peninsula, but also prevailing over COVID-19, reviving the economy and responding to climate change,” Mr. Moon said at the Capitol with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It’s Mr. Moon’s first trip abroad since the start of the pandemic. He will meet face-to-face with President Biden for the first time on Friday at the White House.

The White House said the administration is open to diplomacy with North Korea, but Mr. Biden isn’t likely to engage in the one-on-one summits that former President Trump held with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In his talks with congressional leaders of both parties, Mr. Moon was expected to request support for the long-stalled peace process with North Korea, and for Seoul’s bid to become a center for global vaccine production. 

He said the pandemic showed that, although people were apart physically, “the entire humanity is connected as one, as we need solidarity and cooperation of all humankind to defeat the virus.”

Mrs. Pelosi said the U.S.-South Korea relationship “is a security one, but also a personal one.”

“We look forward to hearing what you have to say about security and in terms of the new denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, about how we can work together on the climate issue,” she said. “And thank you for your extraordinary leadership in that regard.”

Earlier, Mr. Moon visited Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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