Top nuclear envoys of S. Korea, U.S. meet ahead of N.K. talks

September 20, 2019

 The top nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States met in Washington on Friday to coordinate their positions ahead of the expected resumption of denuclearization talks between North Korea and the U.S.

Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, told reporters he had in-depth discussions with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun on how the two sides can work together, with the nuclear talks likely to resume as early as this month.

“I think the most important thing is for the two sides to sit down together,” Lee said after his meeting with Biegun. “It’s important for the two sides to sit down and share the various ideas they have had since Hanoi, and to find areas of agreement from there. That’s what negotiations are about.”

U.S.-North Korea talks have stalled since a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.

North Korea has proposed the two sides resume talks in late September, but demanded that the U.S. come up with a new offer acceptable to Pyongyang.

U.S. officials have said they plan to press for the full and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea, while Pyongyang officials have stepped up calls for sanctions relief and security guarantees in return.

Lee said he and Biegun also discussed ways to work together with Japan, China and Russia to achieve the North’s denuclearization. The South Korean official recently made visits to Russia and China.

Lee and Biegun plan to meet again at the U.N. General Assembly next week. While in Washington, Lee is scheduled to meet with scholars and White House officials.