US intelligence director visits inter-Korean border

Seoul, May 13 (EFE).- United States National Intelligence Director Avril Haines visited Thursday the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.

It was revealed that Haines planned to take a short guided tour of the Joint Security Zone, the only area within the zone. Local agency Yonhap photographed a convoy of at least half a dozen vehicles entering the DMZ.

Haines landed Wednesday in Seoul after meeting in Tokyo with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Park Jie-won and Hiroaki Takizawa, with whom she is believed to have discussed the North Korean issue.

Her visit to Seoul, which could include a courtesy meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a meeting with National Security Adviser Suh-hoon, comes shortly after Washington announced a new strategy to deal with Pyongyang and a week before Moon himself meets with US President Joe Biden in Washington.

Although the White House has given little details about this new approach, beyond the fact that it will seek to open a diplomatic process gradually and without apparent preconditions, the North Korean regime has not publicly responded to the announcement. It has however criticized Biden’s allegations about human rights abuses.

Some experts, underlining the size of the convoy that has brought her to the DMZ, do not rule out the possibility that Haines could have had some kind of contact with North Korean officials during her visit to the border.

On the other hand, the fact that talks between Pyongyang and Washington have been stalled since 2019 and that the regime is especially paranoid about the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through the impoverished country, complicates potential face-to-face meetings. EFE


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