Chung Eui-yong, chief of the Cheong Wa Dae National Security Office, met with US President Donald Trump in Washington on Wednesday amid tensions over North Korea and Iran.
Trump briefly met with Chung and his Japanese counterpart, Shigeru Kitamura, and noted that the two countries are among the strongest US allies in the Indo-Pacific, according to a White House readout sent late Wednesday.
Chung had visite the US to meet with his Japanese and US counterparts.
South Korean national security office chief Chung Eui-yong (right) poses with US national security advisor Robert O’Brien (center) and and their Japanese counterpart Shigeru Kitamura (left). Yonhap
Upon his return to Seoul on Friday, Chung said that he had a “very beneficial” talks in Washington, discussing Korean Peninsula issues, and trilateral issues with his US and Japanese counterparts.
Chung also revealed that Trump conveyed birthday wishes to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which was relayed to Pyongyang through Seoul.
“President Trump remembered that it was Chairman Kim’s birthday, and (asked me) to relay it to Kim through President Moon Jae-in. As far as I am aware, the message was conveyed to the North through appropriate channels,” Chung said, saying that he met with Trump on Kim’s birthday – Jan. 8.
Chung also said that there was no specific mention of South Korea sending troops to the Middle East, but said that the US gave a detailed briefing on the situation in the region.
According to reports, Trump also expressed appreciation for the “support and deep friendship” the US shares with both countries, it said.
Chung’s meeting with Trump came as he visited the White House for three-way talks with his US and Japanese counterparts on Wednesday to discuss ways to deal with North Korea’s renewed threats among others.
The White House National Security Council tweeted that its chief Robert O’Brien had “great bilateral and trilateral meetings” with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, and disclosed a photo of the three together.
“Discussions covered Iran, DPRK-related developments and the importance of trilateral security cooperation,” it said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned of a “new strategic weapon” and “shocking actual action” in his New Year’s Day message during a key party meeting last week.
South Korea has been considering sending military forces to the Strait of Hormuz after a US request to join a US-led coalition against Iran’s military activities.
Chung also met with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Washington’s top envoy for denuclearization talks with North Korea.
The two “reaffirmed close US-ROK coordination on North Korea,” the State Department said in a readout, using the abbreviation for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
They also “affirmed the enduring strength of the US-ROK alliance and reiterated their commitment to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.”
The two discussed recent events in the Middle East and ongoing coordination on global security issues, the department said.
By Kim So-hyun(firstname.lastname@example.org)