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S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm efforts to engage with N. Korea

Diplomacy 06:46 October 13, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- The top national security advisers of South Korea and the United States on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to engaging with North Korea, also vowing to work together in bringing the North back to the dialogue table.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also reaffirmed that the United States holds no hostile policy toward the North during a bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Hoon, in Washington, according to the South Korean embassy.

"The two sides noted they have ceaselessly consulted on North Korean issues, including their diplomatic efforts at all levels to engage with North Korea, since the U.S. unveiled its North Korea policy," the embassy said of the meeting.

"The U.S. side reaffirmed the U.S.' sincerity that it holds no hostile policy toward North Korea and also reiterated its stance that it will engage in negotiations with North Korea anytime, anywhere without preconditions. The two sides agreed to continue working closely on concrete ways to engage with North Korea," the embassy added.

Suh arrived here Monday.

South Korea's National Security Adviser Suh Hoon (L) and his U.S. counterpart, Jake Sullivan, are seen posing for a photo during their meeting in Washington on Oct. 12, 2021 in this photo provided by the South Korean embassy in Washington. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The South Korean official's trip to the U.S. follows a flurry of events involving the reclusive North that included the reopening of direct communication channels between the divided Koreas earlier this month after a 55-day suspension.

North Korea had reopened the cross-border communication lines after a 13-month suspension in July, only to close them again after about two weeks.

Pyongyang remains unresponsive to U.S. overtures for dialogue.

Suh's visit here also comes amid North Korea's renewed rhetoric that Washington has a hostile intention toward Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday (Seoul time) called for efforts to bolster the North's military capabilities, arguing North Korea continues to face military threats from hostile forces.

Suh and Sullivan agreed the U.S.-South Korea alliance is now in its best conditions, further enhanced by a summit between their leaders in Washington in May.

"The two sides ... noted follow-up measures are steadily being taken in various areas such as vaccine cooperation, climate change, new technology and semiconductor supply chain since the countries agreed to develop the South Korea-U.S. alliance into a "comprehensive partnership toward future" in the May summit meeting," the embassy said in a press release.

"The sides also noted their discussions this time have contributed to the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries on the development of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, the Korean Peninsula denuclearization issue and other global issues, and agreed to continue their communication at all levels," it added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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