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S. Korean nuclear envoy leaves for Germany for talks with Biegun

North Korea 10:30 July 09, 2019

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief nuclear envoy left for Germany on Tuesday for talks with his U.S. counterpart ahead of the expected resumption of working-level denuclearization negotiations between the United States and North Korea.

Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, is scheduled to meet in Berlin with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Biegun and German foreign ministry officials.

Biegun has been in Brussels for meetings with European officials and will travel to Berlin on Wednesday. His trip had spurred speculation he may meet with North Korean officials during the trip, but the State Department said no such meetings are planned.

The trip came after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30 and agreed to restart nuclear talks that have been stalled since February's no-deal summit.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said later he expects the talks to resume in mid-July.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Lee also said he expects the nuclear talks to resume by then.

Lee declined to comment on the possible venue for the talks, only saying he believes the U.S. and the North "are closely coordinating on a range of issues including that one."

Sweden and Berlin have been cited as possible venues. The last U.S.-North Korea working level talks took place in Sweden in January ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi.

During the four-day trip to Berlin, Lee said he and Biegun will discuss ways to advance the peace process, stressing, "The peace process for the Korean Peninsula has been reactivated" following the June 30 meeting between Trump and Kim.

Lee will also hold talks with his German counterpart, Ina Lepel, director-general for Asia and Pacific at the Foreign Office.

Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the foreign ministry, speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on July 9, 2019, before leaving for Germany for talks with his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun and other European officials over North Korea's denuclearization. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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