Seoul, Washington, Tokyo meet over North Korea ‘challenges’

Seoul, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- Representatives of South Korea, Japan and the United States stressed on Friday the importance of close cooperation to face the “challenges” posed by the North Korean nuclear program.

The South Korean head of nuclear negotiations, Noh Kyu-duk; the director general for Asian and Oceanian affairs of the Japanese foreign ministry, Takehiro Funakoshi; and the US acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Sung Kim, held a meeting Friday by video conference.

The three agreed to share their assessment of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and to cooperate closely to achieve complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the peninsula, according to a statement by the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

“The Biden Administration is committed to strengthening U.S. alliance relationships, particularly with our key Northeast Asian allies Japan and the Republic of Korea,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“As part of this effort, and against the backdrop of the Biden Administration’s ongoing North Korea policy review,” the three diplomats exchanged “views on shared North Korea-related challenges,” added Washington on the first trilateral meeting of the allies since the US President Joe Biden came to power in January.

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 North Korean 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 new Biden government to propose new alternatives to resume the dialog, warning that Pyongyang is preparing new weapons tests.

The US has not revealed any news regarding the dialog process with North Korea, nor has it sent a direct message to the Kim regime, at least publicly. EFE-EPA


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