- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2021

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday said President Biden’s decision to appoint a special envoy to North Korea is a de facto form of outreach as denuclearizing the peninsula remains a thorny challenge

Mr. Biden, in his White House summit with Mr. Moon last week, announced that he tapped Sung Kim, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, as envoy to the secretive nation ruled by Kim Jong-un.

Mr. Moon said the appointment was “like making a request for North Korea to resume dialogue” and one of the most important accomplishments of his trip to Washington, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

The South Korean leader made the peace process a key part of his legacy. He’s hoping to restart talks with the north after former President Trump’s personal touch with Mr. Kim failed to result in a breakthrough.

Mr. Biden said he will remain engaged but is wary of legitimizing the strongman.

“We both are deeply concerned about the situation,” Mr. Biden said on May 21. “Our two nations also share a willingness to engage diplomatically with [North Korea] to take pragmatic steps that will reduce tensions, as we move toward our ultimate goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr. Biden also said the U.S. will provide COVID-19 vaccines for 550,000 South Korean troops who work in close contact with U.S. forces.

Mr. Moon called the gesture Wednesday a “meaningful gift,” according to Yonhap, though some South Korean politicians said they were looking for a more tangible vaccine swap to help the national population.

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