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S. Korean top nuke envoy holds phone talks with senior U.S. diplomat on N.K. policy

Diplomacy 13:06 February 10, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, and a senior U.S. diplomat agreed to have close consultations on Washington's review of North Korea policy during their phone talks Wednesday, the foreign ministry said.

The talks between Noh and Sung Kim, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, came as Seoul seeks to ensure policy coordination with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to reengage with Pyongyang.

"In the phone call, the two sides exchanged views on how the two countries can cooperate to make progress in the efforts for the complete denuclearization and the establishment of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," the ministry said in a press release.

"They agreed to continue deep consultations at each level on matters, including the U.S.' process of reviewing its policy toward North Korea," it added.

On Tuesday (Washington time), Ned Price, press secretary of the State Department, stressed the importance of policy coordination with U.S. allies and partners to address issues concerning North Korea and Iran.

"I think the risk in moving too soon -- whether the issue is Iran, whether the issue is North Korea -- is that we don't bring along our allies and our partners with us," Price told a press briefing.

Concerns have lingered that the South and the U.S. could have gaps on North Korea policy, as the latter is expected to embrace a bottom-up negotiation approach in a shift from the top-down approach employed by the former Donald Trump administration.

Seoul has hoped to build on progress made during the Trump-era negotiations with Pyongyang.

This file photo, taken Dec. 21, 2020, shows South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, walking into the foreign ministry in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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