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Biegun says diplomacy 'best' and 'only' course to resolving N.K. challenges

All News 14:56 December 10, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said Thursday that diplomacy remains the "best" and "only" course to address the North Korean nuclear quandary, calling for Pyongyang to return to dialogue.

Biegun, who doubles as Washington's top nuclear envoy, made the remarks during a lecture in Seoul recapping his yearslong negotiations with the North, which he cast as being marked by "setbacks, disappointments, and missed opportunities."

"As we look to the future, I remain convinced that diplomacy remains the best course, indeed the only course, to solving our challenges with North Korea," he said.

"Pyongyang has some pivotal events coming up, in particular the eighth party congress in January. We strongly encourage North Korea to use the time between now and then to set a path for the resumption of diplomacy," he added.

Biegun also voiced hope that the U.S. and the North can engage in the kind of "serious diplomacy that requires sustained engagement and difficult tradeoffs but has huge rewards."

Reflecting on the deadlocked negotiation process, he expressed regrets over North Korean counterparts missing opportunities just in "search for obstacles."

"Regrettably, much opportunity has been squandered by our North Korean counterparts over the past two years, who too often have devoted themselves to the search for obstacles to negotiations instead of seizing opportunities for engagement," he said.

"Yet, remarkably, the potential of the Singapore Summit is still fully present, despite our failure to advance what was agreed."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun speaks during a meeting with South Korea's top nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Dec. 9, 2020. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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