Geum Yi

S. Korean nuke envoy to hold talks with U.S., Russian counterparts on N. Korea

August 20, 2021

South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, will hold separate bilateral talks with his U.S. and Russian counterparts next week on efforts to resume dialogue with North Korea, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Noh will hold talks with Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, on Monday, and with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on Tuesday, the ministry said. Morgulov doubles as the point man for Pyongyang.

Kim is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day visit. Morgulov will make a six-day trip here running through Thursday.

At the upcoming talks, they will “discuss ways for cooperation for substantive progress in the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of lasting peace,” the ministry said.

No trilateral session among the diplomats is planned during their visits, according to a ministry official.

Morgulov will also meet with Yeo Seung-bae, South Korea’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, on Monday for a senior policy dialogue on bilateral relations, cooperation and other issues, the ministry said.

Their visits come amid heightened tensions after Pyongyang blasted Seoul and Washington for going ahead with their joint military exercise running through next week and warned of “a serious security crisis.”

Speculation has arisen that the North could take provocative actions in protest.

The North had reportedly issued a navigational warning for early this week for ships off the east coast, a possible indication that it had prepared a weapons test, such as a missile launch, although no such activities took place.

During his last visit in June, Kim said the U.S. is ready to meet with the North “anytime, anywhere without preconditions” and looks forward to a positive response from Pyongyang.