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Trump is meeting with South Korea's president. Spoiler alert: they're talking North Korea.

Trump is meeting with South Korea's president. Spoiler alert: they're talking North Korea.



President Trump is meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in Washington this week. Trump is no stranger to meeting with foreign leaders, but this one will be a different ballgame. The main talking point? North Korea.

How to rein in North Korea?

President Trump touts a hard-line, America first, power by strength policy, while Moon is seen as being more dovish.

The two will have to compromise to deal with Pyongyang's growing aggression. In recent months North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests.

"It’s a really important meeting because of course the North Korea problem is a little bit out of control," said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

The White House is ready to play hardball when it comes to North Korea. Members of the administration and Congress have put pressure on China, Japan and other neighboring countries to increase sanctions and political pressure on Pyongyang to force the North Korean regime to scale back its nuclear missile program.

But Moon has touted a different strategy. He's a proponent of more gentle persuasion and negotiation to get North Korea to bend.

He is going to want to create some new opportunities,try some new ideas that are perhaps a little forward leaning for President Trump.
Michael O'Hanlon

Moon has said he would ask the U.S. to scale back its military exercises with South Korea if North Korea agrees to scale back its nuclear program.


Another sticking point in the talks will be the U.S.'s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

The U.S. struck a deal with former South Korean President Park Guen-hye, who was later impeached in a corruption scandal. The system was meant to be installed in South Korea to protect the peninsula from Northern aggression.

But Moon campaigned on a platform to review the agreement, and suspended construction of the system after he was elected, citing an environmental review of the project.

But experts say there's more to Moon's decision to delay THAAD.

"China didn't like the deployment of that THAAD system, and actually started allowing some retaliation against some South Korean businesses trying to sell their goods in China," O'Hanlon said.

Otto Warmbier

If the mounting pressure on the talks wasn't already enough, the death of Otto Warmbier could bring it to a boiling point.

Warmbier, an Ohio native, died earlier this month after being held in captivity in North Korea for 17 months. He spent most of that time in a coma.

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