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U.S., China nuclear envoys meet over N. Korea

All News 05:06 January 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- The chief nuclear negotiators of the United States and China met in Washington this week to discuss recent developments with North Korea, the State Department said Thursday.

The meeting was held Wednesday between U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou to address "efforts toward advancing the final, fully verified denuclearization" of North Korea, the department said in a statement shared with Yonhap.

The diplomatic push to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program has gained traction in recent weeks with the planning of a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un late next month.

Biegun's weekend trip to Sweden was aimed at laying the groundwork for the summit, in his first meeting with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.

"Special Representative Biegun shared with Vice Minister Kong the United States' continued commitment to making progress on the transformation of U.S.-DPRK relations and the establishment of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, in parallel with progress on complete denuclearization," the department said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump and Kim agreed at their first summit in Singapore in June to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for Pyongyang.

China is a key stakeholder in the global campaign to rid the North of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The North Korean leader has visited the ally nation four times in less than a year to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and secure backing for his diplomatic outreach to South Korea and the U.S.

China is also the North's largest trading partner with a critical role in enforcing United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.

The U.S. has accused China of easing the restrictions, a charge Beijing denies.

Biegun and Kong discussed the importance of continuing sanctions implementation, the department said.


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