U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kritenbrink to visit S. Korea next week

November 5, 2021

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink will visit Japan and South Korea next week for talks on bilateral and regional issues, the state department said Friday.

The assistant secretary will head to Tokyo on Sunday for a four-day visit before heading to Seoul on Wednesday, according to the department.

” During his visits, Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink will meet with senior government officials to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to our allies as we work together to tackle the most serious global challenges of the 21st Century,” it said in a press release.

“Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink will also emphasize the importance of bilateral and trilateral cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the ROK to promote peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” it added. ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.

His trip comes amid joint efforts by the countries to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table.

North Korea has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations since 2019.

Washington has repeatedly emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation between the U.S., South Korea and Japan, as well as cooperation between the two Asian allies of the U.S.

Seoul-Tokyo relations have been at their lowest ebb since mid-2019 when Japan took economic measures which included removing South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners, in a move widely viewed as retaliation for Seoul court rulings against Japan’s World War II atrocities, including forced labor and sexual slavery.

It will be Kritenbrink’s first trip to Seoul since his appointment earlier this year.