U.S.'s North Korea envoy to visit Japan, S Korea next week

By David Brunnstrom

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea will travel to Japan and South Korea next week to coordinate efforts to secure the denuclearization of North Korea, the State Department said on Friday.

Stephen Biegun will be in Japan from Monday to Tuesday and in Seoul from Tuesday to Thursday, a State Department statement said.

News of Biegun's trip came after U.S. President Donald Trump said last Saturday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had told him he was ready to resume stalled denuclearization talks with the United States and would stop recent missile testing as soon as U.S.-South Korea military exercises that have been held this month end.

The State Department statement made no mention of any talks with North Korea, and the agency did not immediately respond when asked if any were planned during Biegun's trip.

The statement said the purpose of the trip was "to further strengthen coordination on the final, fully verified denuclearization" of North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Aug 7 he was hopeful that working-level talks, which Biegun has led, would resume with North Korea in coming weeks and that the U.S. side was planning for negotiations in a couple of weeks.

Trump and Kim have met three times since last year to discuss ways to resolve a crisis over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, but progress has been scant on Washington's aim of getting the North Korea leader to give up the weapons.

The two last met on June 30 in the demilitarized zone between the Koreas and agreed to revive working-level talks stalled since their failed second summit held in February in Vietnam. But the talks have yet to resume and North Korea has since staged repeated short-range missile tests that raised doubts about whether they would.

Trump, who has been eager to show success on the North Korean issue ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, has played down the launches and noted that Kim has stuck to his pledge not to resume tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs suspended since 2017.

On Aug 9, Trump said he had received a "very beautiful letter" from Kim and he said the following day he looked forward to seeing him again "in the not too distant future."

North Korea has decried the U.S.-South Korean military exercises as rehearsals for war aimed at toppling Kim's leadership and has said they go against a pledge by Trump to end them.

U.S. officials say the drills are largely computer-simulated as an alternative to previous large-scale annual exercises halted to expedite denuclearization talks.

Previous rounds of talks have failed to narrow differences over U.S. demands for North Korea to give up all its nuclear weapons and Pyongyang's demands for relief from punishing economic sanctions.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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S. Korea must be so bothered by this news. Their policy and wishes is to keep Japan out!

They dont want Japan to be included, even in the liberation speech they mentioned this several times.

I recommend more people listen to S. Korea liberation speech and not just the title on articles.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Moon has started a war with Japan in every which way except actual military conflict, And he even came close to that too. The sheer stupidity of the Moon administration to think that any efforts to unite the Koreas, or to engage in a military conflict with NK can be done without Japan's cooperation and support is mind boggling.

While SK has a clear value to the US, mainly as a "tripwire", Moon's actions regarding THAAD and his war against Japan are resonating loud and clear to the United States. And perhaps that's what Moon ks aiming for, a complete withdrawl of US forces from SK to make Kim Jong Un happy. Trump has frequently twittered about removing US forces from SK to "save money".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The US want to force this alliance to keep their role in this region, but South Korea and North Korea are actually the same Country, that is waiting for reunification to face a common enemy: Japan. It's useless that the US want to force the South Koreans to see Japanese as allies, it never worked and it will never work. South Korea identify has been built up on their anti-Japanese feelings, not on their anti-North Korean feelings. Washington can't ignore the truth.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The US obviously hope for a Korean reunification under American influence, and they want Japan can fuel money in the Korean peninsula for this project, exactly like it forced Japan to sponsor South Korea's development in anti-communist function. The result for Japan has been to create a middle sized economic powerhouse extremely hostile to it. America can't force Japan in the same mistake. Do you want the reunification of the Korean peninsula? Make that by yourself, without using Japanese money. It's stupid for Japan helping the growth of an enemy Country. Both the Koreas are already in Chinese hands anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They may be the same country, but they’ll never unite as one country - never !

will Kim Jon forego his luxurious lifestyle & give up his dictatorship for democratic elections !?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why "never"? I can see in future a reunification under the same model of China and Hong Kong, except if you think the US and China will have a new military clash for the full control of the peninsula. In any case, this "new Country" will be a Country hostile to Japan as both the current Koreas are. South Koreans never learned or admitted Japanese role in their development. There's no way Korean population will be able to see Japan in a friendly way, no matter how many money Japan invests in the peninsula. This strategy already failed. Their mindest always remains stuck in the "We'll never lose to Japan again". In the collective imaginary, Japan has always been portrayed in South Korea like the Country that only humiliated, attacked and destroyed Korea for centuries. They never see any positive influence that Japan has had in their development after WWII. This is their biased mindest, and they learn this rethoric since they are children. Reading South Korean newspapers can give you a good idea of the general situation, and it makes you feel a bit uneasy, especially if you are from a European Country, since here any similar emotional rethoric towards another Country would be seen like extreme right wing propaganda.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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