S. Korea’s unification minister to visit U.S. to discuss North Korea issues

November 12, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s unification minister will visit the United States this week to discuss issues linked to North Korea and inter-Korean relations with top U.S. officials and experts.

Cho Myoung-gyon will embark on a five-day trip to the U.S. on Tuesday during which he is also likely to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

His trip to the U.S. comes amid apparent friction between the allies over how to enforce global sanctions imposed on North Korea amid almost stalled denuclearization talks.

South Korea has been eager to expand cross-border exchanges, which have been blocked by sanctions on Pyongyang. The U.S. has said that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Joint projects between South and North Korea, such as railway and road connections over their border, have been faced with apparent opposition from the U.S.

Cho will likely emphasize Seoul’s argument that an improvement in inter-Korean relations could benefit the denuclearization process and ask the U.S. to cooperate in easing sanctions on key cross-border projects.

During his five-day stay, Cho is also expected to meet Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and visit the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and other institutes to meet local experts on North Korea.

This marks the first time in about four years for South Korea’s incumbent unification minister in charge of North Korea issues to visit Washington.