LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - The second-ranking official in the South Korean government said the upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un will “determine the fate of our country.”
In terms of rank, Moon Hee-sang is the South Korean equivalent to America's Nancy Pelosi. Moon is Speaker of the National Assembly whereas Pelosi is Speaker of the House.
Speaker Moon spent the week in Washington D.C. meeting with Speaker Pelosi and other American officials from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
“We really wanted them to understand that the second [Trump-Kim] meeting is of great importance to the Korean people and it will determine the fate of our country. That’s how important it is,” Speaker Moon said in an exclusive interview on FOX 11's The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson, Southern California’s only prime-time political talk show.
Protocol officer and interpreter Soyoung Im translated Speaker Moon’s words from Korean to English. Moon said he “achieved [his] goal” in his meetings with America’s top leaders.
“I think they understood where we were coming from and they were hopeful about the meeting, so I think that was a really great outcome,” Hee-sang said.
Speaker Moon admitted that Speaker Pelosi “expressed skepticism” about President Trump’s abilities to lead this international negotiation. Moon tried to assuage her concerns.
Speaker Moon was asked if he trusts President Trump one-on-one with Kim Jung Un.
“I fully agree he is capable of leading the summit meeting because he has a good understanding of the situation and I really think he can make the summit a success,” Hee-sang said.
Speaker Moon admitted he doesn’t feel as much confidence in Kim Jung Un.
“There is a strong distrust in regards to Kim Jung Un’s regime…even I can not say I trust him 100 percent. We must understand he’s in a situation where he has to feed his people. He has to choose whether he’s going to stick by his nuclear weapons or he’s going to revive his economy so his people can live.”
The Trump/Kim summit is expected to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“The real goals of the summit between North Korea and the United States is really to achieve permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and the complete denuclearization of North Korea,” said Hee-sang.
Moon’s long term hope? “Achieving unification on the Korean Peninsula is our ultimate goal and our ultimate aspiration.”
Speaker Moon said the American government will have a big deal in achieving those objectives.
“Going forward, the United States and South Korea must get together and work together to make North Korea a ‘normal’ member of the international society. That will really work for the benefit of all the countries involved,” Hee-sang said.
Speaker Moon was asked if President Trump has made U.S./South Korean relations better or worse?
"We'll have to see. We'll have to wait and see!" Hee-sang said.
More Koreans live in Los Angeles than any other part of the U.S. Speaker Moon expressed gratitude for the American people’s sacrifices from the Korean War until today.
“They are the bond that connects South Korea and the U.S.,” Hee-sang added. “Today, we have become the country we are because of the United States and we do not forget that.”
In recent years, that bond has strengthened thanks to music. Speaker Moon smiled when he was asked for his favorite K-Pop band?
“I like all of the Korean K-Pop bands, especially BTS but more than me, my granddaughter really loves them!” said Hee-sang.
Speaker Moon even busted out a brief dance move to showcase his appreciation for the worldwide phenomenon.