Moon and Trump were due to have dinner late Thursday and hold formal talks on Friday. AFP
WASHINGTON - 1 July 2017: President Donald Trump welcomed South Korea's Moon Jae-In to the White House Friday for talks on how to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, with the leaders at odds on whether to isolate or engage the regime.
"We have many options, with respect to North Korea," Trump declared as he headed into an Oval Office meeting to be followed by a joint declaration with the newly-elected president.
Both the US president and his South Korean counterpart -- making his first foreign trip since his resounding victory at the polls -- sounded an upbeat note ahead of the meeting.
"Our personal relationship is very, very good," said Trump, who hosted Moon and first lady Kim Jung-soon the previous evening for a reception and a formal dinner.
"We had a fantastic dinner at the White House, accomplished a lot having to do with North Korea and trade," Trump said.
Moon, speaking through a translator, said the previous night had afforded some "very honest discussions on issues that include North Korea."
"It was an opportunity to reconfirm the fact that the United States and Korea are working together on the same path towards a great alliance," he said.
He also sought to underscore the warmth of the relationship, noting that Trump was among the first foreign leaders to call to congratulate him on his election.
Also on Friday's agenda is the negotiation of a bilateral trade deal between the United States and South Korea, described by Trump as "a major trading partner."
"Hopefully it will be a fair deal for both parties," said the US leader.