(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from a State Department spokesperson in paras 8-10)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- Sung Kim, special U.S. envoy for North Korea, will visit Japan next week to meet with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on various issues that will include ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, the State Department said Friday.
Kim's trip to Tokyo will follow his meetings with his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, in Seoul and Washington last month. The department said Kim will again be joined by Noh in Tokyo.
"U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Ambassador Sung Kim will travel to Tokyo, Japan from September 13–15, 2021," it said in a press release, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Special Representative Kim will join a trilateral meeting with Japanese Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Funakoshi Takehiro and Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk," it added.
The three envoys last held a three-way meeting in Seoul in June. Kim again visited Seoul in August, followed by Noh's trip to Washington later that month.
Kim's upcoming trip to Japan, as well as his recent visit to Seoul, comes amid a long hiatus in dialogue with the recalcitrant North.
The Joe Biden administration has made several overtures to Pyongyang for dialogue since taking office in January, while the U.S. special envoy has also repeatedly offered to meet his North Korean counterparts "anywhere, anytime without preconditions."
A State Department spokesperson reaffirmed the U.S.' commitment to addressing the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomacy and dialogue.
"I can say we are aware of the report that the DPRK staged a military parade on Sept. 9," Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson, said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to the military parade held this week to mark the 73rd founding anniversary of the North's government.
"Of course, our goal remains ... the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It is what we are striving for. The United States is prepared to engage in diplomacy toward that objective," she added.
North Korea remains unresponsive to U.S. outreaches.
"Special Representative Kim's travel to Tokyo for trilateral and bilateral meetings underscores ongoing U.S. coordination with and commitment to our allies on DPRK issues," the State Department said.
"Special Representative Kim will also meet with other senior Japanese officials to discuss cooperation on a broad range of issues, including the U.S. commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the immediate resolution of the abductions issue," it added.
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