Seoul, Washington see North Korea as ‘urgent’ issue

Seoul, Jan 27 (efe-epa).- South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and the United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed Wednesday in a phone call on the need to deal urgently with the North Korean nuclear issue.

“The two ministers shared the understanding that the North Korean nuclear issue is a matter that should be dealt urgently with under the Biden administration as well, and agreed to consult closely to resolve the issue,” a statement released by the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.

The call came just hours after Blinken was confirmed as the new secretary of state in the US Senate, where he said “the entire approach and policy toward North Korea” will be reviewed.

The denuclearization dialog with Pyongyang has been stalled since the Hanoi summit in February 2019, in which Washington refused to lift sanctions because it considered the regime’s disarmament offer insufficient.

Following the failure of the Trump administration to resolve the conflict, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently urged the Biden administration to propose new alternatives to resume dialog, warning that Pyongyang is preparing new weapons tests.

Many experts believe that the North Korean regime could soon resume long-range missile launches or nuclear tests if Washington does not move to start new talks.

In order to revitalize the dialog with the regime, Seoul has in turn decided to replace Kang with Chung Eui-yong, a former national security advisor with extensive experience on North Korean issues and whose appointment is pending parliamentary approval.

After Blinken’s appointment, it was announced that the new deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is Jung Pak, a former CIA analyst with extensive knowledge of the Korean Peninsula, which underlines in principle Washington’s interest in addressing Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, the South Korean presidential office reported Wednesday that, during a phone conversation held Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed support for the efforts of his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, to denuclearize the peninsula. EFE-EPA


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