President Moon Jae-in’s special envoy to the U.S. visited the U.S. Congress on Thursday to explain the new South Korean government’s policies on North Korea’s nuclear program and the deployment of the THAAD antimissile system.
Hong Seok-hyun met with senior members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives who have deep knowledge of the Korean Peninsula and security issues in East Asia, including Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
Also on Capitol Hill he met with Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ed Royce, the U.S. House chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
During the meetings, Hong was known to have emphasized that Moon is well aware of the importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and prioritizes policy coordination with the U.S.
Hong said earlier that he wanted to ease misperceptions among the U.S. leaders about the liberal president’s North Korea policies and their concerns that the alliance will weaken under Moon’s leadership.
In a meeting Wednesday with U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster at the White House, Hong said the liberals and the conservatives in South Korea are on the same page when it comes to national security and the Seoul-Washington alliance.
In the meetings with the U.S. Congress members, Hong was also known to have explained the controversy in South Korea regarding undemocratic procedures in deciding to deploy THAAD missile interceptors, saying that it is inevitable it will have to be discussed at the National Assembly.
Hong was also known to have explained about the directions and goals of Moon’s foreign policies, his political philosophies and the political significance of the launch of a new government in South Korea.
The South Korean delegation was known to be discussing with Washington officials about the schedules and agendas of Friday’s meetings between Hong and senior Washington officials, including U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson.