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Unification minister planning to visit Washington next month: official

All News 13:45 May 11, 2021

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young is planning to visit the United States next month, an official said Tuesday.

Details of Lee's visit have yet to be finalized, and the exact schedule could change depending on the coronavirus situation and the South Korea-U.S. summit slated for next week, according to the official.

"Considering the Korea-U.S. summit and other diplomatic schedules as well as the coronavirus quarantine guidelines, we are making related preparations with a view to make a visit around the end of June," the official said.

The official also said that the ministry views U.S. efforts to reach out to North Korea positively after the reclusive country reportedly acknowledged an earlier offer from the U.S. to explain the outcome of its policy review on Pyongyang.

"We positively view opportunities for the U.S. and North Korea to sit down and hold talks at an early date through various outreach efforts as we have seen in the recent report," he added.

In response to the U.S. offer last week, the North has reportedly said the proposal has been "well received," a different reaction from when the first dialogue offer was made. Last month, the U.S. said it had sought to engage with the North in mid-February but that the regime remained "unresponsive."

Still, whether it will lead to actual dialogue remains to be seen as the North earlier said it will ignore U.S. overtures until Washington gives up its hostility toward Pyongyang.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to visit Washington next week for a one-on-one summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, during which the two sides are expected have in-depth discussions on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Unification minister planning to visit Washington next month: official - 1

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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