U.S. envoy on N.K. to visit Seoul to boost coordination: State Department

December 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy for North Korea will visit South Korea this week to coordinate the allies’ push to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.

Stephen Biegun will be in Seoul Wednesday through Friday, meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, and other officials, the department said in a press release.

The two sides aim to “further strengthen U.S.-ROK coordination on our shared objective of the final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea, it said, using the acronym for South Korea’s formal name, the Republic of Korea.

This photo shows Lee Do-hoon (R), South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Seoul on Oct. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

This photo shows Lee Do-hoon (R), South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Seoul on Oct. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

Biegun and Lee will co-chair the third session of a bilateral working group that was launched last month to help effective coordination on North Korea.

The meeting will discuss the allies’ joint efforts to achieve denuclearization, “including through inter-Korean cooperation projects,” the department said, in a rare recognition of Seoul’s stated policy to incentivize Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program through reconciliation projects.

The U.S. has maintained that sanctions on North Korea must remain in place until the regime fully gives up its weapons of mass destruction programs.

South Korea has sought to expand cross-border cooperation within the framework of international sanctions, with an inter-Korean railway modernization and reconnection project set to formally launch next week.

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