S. Korea's top nuke envoy Noh holds talks with senior U.S. official on N. Korea policy
By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, held talks with a senior U.S. diplomat on a coordinated strategy on North Korea on Friday, a day after the two countries held "two plus two" foreign and defense ministerial talks.
The talks between Noh and Sung Kim, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, were a follow-up on an agreement reached during the ministerial talks to pursue a "fully coordinated strategy" to deal with a recalcitrant North Korea.
Thursday's two plus two meeting, the first such gathering since 2016, involved Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, Defense Minister Suh Wook, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
"As you know, you and I and our teams have stayed in very close touch from the very beginning of our North Korea policy review," the U.S. diplomat said at the start of the meeting with Noh.
"As Secretary Blinken emphasized yesterday and the day before, we greatly value input from the Republic of Korea, as we undertake this important comprehensive review of our North Korea policy," he added.
Noh stressed that a fully coordinated strategy toward the North between the allies is "essential" to effectively persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize.
"Establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula is the top priority of my government's foreign and security policy. Genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula can be achieved only after complete denuclearization," he said.
"My government's solemn duty is to focus our effort to bring about genuine peace as a norm on the peninsula as soon as possible in close consultation and coordination with the U.S.," he added.
Secretary Blinken has said that the new U.S. administration is looking at "everything" from diplomacy to pressure measures "with an open mind" in its ongoing policy review on the North, which he said will be completed in the coming weeks.
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