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Unification minister, US nuclear envoy discuss ways to restart talks with Pyongyang

Aug. 24, 2021 - 17:57 By Ahn Sung-mi
Unification Minister Lee In-young (right) shakes hands with US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim ahead of their breakfast meeting in Seoul on Tuesday. (Unification Ministry)

Unification Minister Lee In-young met with the visiting US envoy for North Korea on Tuesday and together they discussed ways to resume stalled nuclear talks at the earliest and engage with Pyongyang. 

During an hourlong breakfast meeting, Lee and the US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, shared their views on the North’s recent attitude and the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, a ministry official said. 

Lee stressed the need for the stable management of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and raised hope for the allies’ efforts of engagement with Pyongyang to produce outcome, the ministry said in a statement. 

In turn, Kim said Washington holds no hostile intent toward Pyongyang and reaffirmed the need for close coordination between the US and South Korea to resolve issues on the peninsula through diplomacy and engagement, including humanitarian assistance. 

The two sides vowed to continue communication and cooperation for the development of inter-Korean ties and the US-North Korea relations.

Kim’s Seoul trip comes amid heightened tension over Seoul and Washington’s combined military drills, which Pyongyang denounced as the “most vivid expression of the US hostile policy” toward the North and warned the allies of a “security crisis.”

The US diplomat met with Vice Unification Minister Choi Young-jun on Monday afternoon. The pair exchanged views on the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula and discussed ways to cooperate in dealing with the North. 

During Kim’s four-day stay here, which ends Tuesday, the allies reaffirmed their commitment to providing humanitarian aid to the North, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation and as severe weather may be exacerbating food shortages across the border. 

South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk said the two sides talked about various areas of humanitarian aid, including health care, measures against infectious diseases, safe water and sanitation, after his talks with Kim. Noh also added the pair discussed ways to provide humanitarian assistance through international organizations and nongovernmental organizations.