By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, May 25 (Yonhap) -- Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, has begun his work as a new special representative for North Korea, speaking with his Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, the State Department said Tuesday.
"Special Representative for the DPRK spoke with @MOFAJapan-en DG Funakoshi to reaffirm our shared commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other important issues," the department said in a Twitter post.
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. Funakoshi, director-general for Asian and Oceanian affairs, serves as Japan's top nuclear negotiator.
The conversation, apparently held over the phone, came after President Joe Biden announced his appointment of Kim as special U.S. envoy to deal with issues related to the reclusive North on Friday in a joint press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in after their bilateral summit in Washington.
Kim's appointment also came amid a U.S. outreach to Pyongyang to explain the outcome of its recently concluded review of North Korea policy, which it says will seek "calibrated, practical" steps to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Kim's new post had been vacant since Biden took office on Jan. 20. Also a former ambassador to South Korea, Kim had served in the same position in 2014-2016 under the former Barack Obama administration.
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
N. Korea says month-old virus crisis under control, but skepticism lingers
Yoon, Biden agree to broaden, deepen alliance amid N.K. threats, China's assertiveness
Biden's trip highlights commitment to stronger alliance, hope for S. Korea's pivotal role in security: experts