South Korea President meets House, Senate leaders

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with members of Congress on Thursday (June 29) ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington.

Moon posed for photographs with members of the Senate and House of Representatives, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Our bilateral relationship is so strong, and this is something that we share as Democrats and Republicans,” said Ryan.

The South Korean leader will be meeting with President Trump Thursday and Friday, during which they are expected to show a united front during public portions of their talks.

But trade remains an irritant, with Trump criticising the trade pact the U.S. made with South Korea under the former administration.

Forecasts that the deal would increase U.S. exports to South Korea were proven false when exports fell by $3 billion from 2011 to 2016 while the goods deficit more than doubled.

That deficit stood at $13.2 billion in 2011 and lurched to $27.7 billion by 2016.

Moon seemed to acknowledge the issue during remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

He pledged that unfair trade practices would be eradicated and factors that limited competition, such as market entry barriers and price regulations, would be “reevaluated” under his administration.

Despite those issues, South Korea remains a key U.S. ally in the region and a key ally in ongoing efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

This is Moon’s first trip to the United States since becoming his country’s leader.

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