US, South Korean officers focus on North Korea technique as Pyongyang rejects talks

Seoul, July 8

The US level man for North Korea met with South Korean officers in Seoul on Wednesday for talks, overshadowed by Pyongyang’s insistence that it has no intention of returning to denuclearisation negotiations any time quickly.

Stephen Biegun, who led working-level negotiations with the North Koreans and now has broader duty as US Deputy Secretary of State, met briefly with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha earlier than holding longer conferences with Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young and chief nuclear negotiator Lee Do-hoon.

Talks coated a variety of points, together with coronavirus responses and ongoing negotiations over navy cost-sharing, however North Korea dominated the agenda, Seoul officers stated.

In a quick dialog, Kang advised Biegun he had come at an essential time for political developments and in addition after South Korean President Moon Jae-in just lately reshuffled a few of his senior North Korea coverage aides.

After assembly with Cho, Biegun stated the United States is absolutely engaged in looking for peace on the Korean peninsula, would proceed to cooperate intently with South Korea, and is “looking forward” to creating progress on the difficulty this 12 months.

Biegun is more likely to meet with Suh Hoon, Moon’s new nationwide safety advisor who, as spy chief, was instrumental in facilitating summits between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, a Seoul official stated.

Talks with Pyongyang have since stalled, and North Korean officers say the nation has no intention to take a seat down with the United States.

Trump stated on Tuesday he’s open to a different assembly with Kim and thinks it could be useful, Voice of America reported, citing a transcript of an interview Trump gave to Atlanta, Georgia-based Gray Television, resulting from be aired on Sunday.

Kim has been sustaining a low profile in latest months, making far fewer public appearances than normal, in keeping with analysts who monitor his actions.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media reported Kim had marked the anniversary of the demise of his grandfather, North Korea’s founding chief Kim Il Sung, by visiting his mausoleum at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.

North Korea not partaking

Moon’s name for a brand new Trump-Kim summit and Biegun’s go to had sparked hypothesis of a last-ditch effort to attempt to revive North Korea talks forward of the U.S. presidential election in November.

But Biegun has beforehand performed down the probability of one other in-person summit between Trump and Kim, saying the coronavirus pandemic made arranging such an occasion unlikely earlier than the election.

Upon arrival in South Korea on Tuesday, Biegun and all the U.S. delegation, in addition to the American navy air crew who piloted their plane, underwent checks for COVID-19 on the U.S. navy base in South Korea the place they landed.

After the checks got here again damaging, the delegation continued on to Seoul.

Besides the coronavirus challenges, North Korea’s strident rejections of latest talks additionally means Biegun’s go to is extra more likely to concentrate on coordination between the 2 allies, slightly than seizing some opening for diplomacy, stated John Delury, a North Korea professional at Yonsei University in Seoul.

“I don’t see signals from North Korea that they are looking for engagement,” he stated.

Coordination between the 2 long-time allies is vital now, stated Duyeon Kim, a senior advisor on the International Crisis Group, a Belgium-based impartial non-profit organisation.

“The allies should get on the same page about upcoming defence drills, how their working group can support inter-Korean projects while enforcing existing sanctions, and how to jointly respond if Pyongyang escalates or tests more weapons,” she stated. Reuters

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