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U.S. will build on Singapore agreement with N. Korea: Campbell

All News 06:00 May 19, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden will build on a 2018 summit agreement with North Korea, White House Asia czar Kurt Campbell said Tuesday, extending overtures to Pyongyang after completing a monthslong policy review on the North.

"Our policy review took a careful look at everything that has been tried before. Our efforts will build on Singapore and other agreements made by previous administrations," Campbell, White House policy coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, said in a written interview with Yonhap News Agency.

It marks the first time a ranking U.S. official has said on the record that the Biden administration will inherit the denuclearization agreement signed in Singapore by former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018.

Under the landmark agreement, Kim committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the two sides also agreed to establish new relations and a lasting and stable peace regime on the peninsula.

Trump and Kim held a second summit in Hanoi in February 2019 to come up with a detailed map for the North's denuclearization process, but the talks ended without a deal, bringing the denuclearization process to an impasse.

The interview came just days before South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits Washington for talks with Biden on Friday, where North Korea is expected to feature high on the agenda, along with cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines and semiconductor supply chains.

Campbell also said during the interview that the U.S. currently has no plans to expand the U.S.-led Quad forum involving Australia, India and Japan amid widespread speculation that the U.S. wants Seoul to join the forum widely seen as keeping a growing China in check.

He also said that at this week's summit, the U.S. and the South will discuss ways of cooperation related to semiconductors and outcomes will include "tangible partnerships related to addressing supply chain security and enhancing public and private cooperation on advanced technology."

Kurt Campbell, White House policy coordinator for the Indo-Pacific. (Yonhap file photo)


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