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Biegun to meet S. Korea's deputy presidential security adviser over N.K. nuke talks

Diplomacy 09:37 August 22, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was set to meet a top South Korean presidential security adviser in Seoul on Thursday to discuss joint efforts to resume nuclear talks with North Korea.

His talks with Kim Hyun-chong, a deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, come as Pyongyang reacts angrily to Seoul's introduction this week of more F-35A stealth fighters amid lingering tensions from the South Korea-U.S. military exercise that was concluded earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Biegun said the United States is ready to resume working-level talks with the North "as soon as we hear from our counterparts" in the North in a renewed call for the regime to come out for dialogue.

Washington and Pyongyang were expected to restart talks last month based on an agreement between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their impromptu talks at the inter-Korean border on June 30.

But the talks have not been held amid Pyongyang's angry reactions to the combined South Korea-U.S. military exercise, which it berated as a rehearsal for invasion and a sign of continued hostility toward it.

Biegun's visit to South Korea has spawned speculation that he could contact North Koreans possibly at the inter-Korean border truce village of Panmunjom. But the U.S. State Department said Wednesday it had no additional meetings or stops to announce for Biegun.

Biegun flew to South Korea from Japan on Tuesday for a three-day visit.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun speaks during a meeting with South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul in Seoul on Aug. 21, 2019. (Yonhap)


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