Politics

Biegun: Washington ‘ready’ for future talks with Pyongyang, despite rebuff

Seoul, Jul 8 (efe-epa).- The United States’ deputy secretary of state on Wednesday said that Washington was open to future dialog with Pyongyang despite North Korea recently rejecting a resumption of denuclearization talks.

“When Chairman Kim appoints a counterpart to me who is prepared and empowered to negotiate on these issues, they will find us ready at that very moment,” Stephen Biegun said in Seoul, according to the local Yonhap news agency.

In a meeting with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young, Biegun said the pair “discussed peace on the Korean Peninsula, an effort that we continue to be fully engaged with and cooperate very closely with the Republic of Korea (South) and look forward to making progress on as we continue through into this year.”

The US envoy also addressed North Korean First Vice Minister of Foreign Affaris Choe Son-hui’s recent statement that Pyongyang was not interested in resuming dialog and accused Washington of using bilateral dialog between the two countries “as a tool for grappling its political crisis.”

Biegun, according to Yonhap, said that he does not take “directions” from Choe and added that he takes guidance from conclusions of past meetings between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

“Their vision is what guides our team: a focus on creating a more durable peace on the Korean Peninsula, transforming relations on the Korean Peninsula, elimination of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and a brighter future for the Korean people,” he said.

Biegun’s statements come after Trump in a televised remark on Tuesday said that he was open to meeting Kim again as he felt it would help the process of North Korea’s denuclearization.

The US envoy also reiterated that Washington was committed to its defense of Seoul and to working closely over how to share the expense of keeping 28,500 US troops deployed in the South.

“US commitment is ironclad for the defense of the Korean Peninsula,” Biegun said.

Biegun’s visit to Seoul comes as North Korea has hardened its stance against the South.

In early June, Pyongyang accused the Moon Jae-in government of allowing activists to send balloons with anti-regime propaganda across the border and its decision to cut ties and destroy the inter-Korean liaison office marked the lowest point in bilateral relations in the past two years.

Analysts believe that the regime has made the propaganda balloons an excuse to harden a strategy of pressure, which originated in the failed denuclearization summit between Pyongyang and Washington in Hanoi in February 2019, when the US considered the North Korean disarmament plan insufficient and refused to lift sanctions. EFE-EPA

asb/sk/tw

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