NATIONAL

FM to visit Washington next week to address US-NK dialogue: reports

By Jung Min-kyung
  • Published : Mar 8, 2018 - 16:46
  • Updated : Mar 8, 2018 - 16:46
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is expected to visit Washington next week to further discuss with US officials talks with North Korea on denuclearization, media reports said Thursday, citing diplomatic sources. 

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Yonhap)

The news comes as South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s trop security adviser Chung Eui-yong embarked on a trip to the United States to explain the outcome of his recent visit to North Korea, where he met the country’s leader Kim Jong-un. The Pyongyang trip brought surprising results, including the North’s sudden willingness to halt its military provocations for talks with the US.

According to unnamed diplomatic sources, Kang plans to hold a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Lee Do-hoon, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, plans to accompany her on the trip, sources said, although there is a possibility they may arrive separately in the US.

Whether Kang has other plans during her trip or the length of her visit are unknown.

While Chung is expected to lay a foundation for US-North Korea talks by informing Washington of the results of his trip, Kang is expected to play the role of paving a smoother road for the US to join the dialogue table with North Korea.

She is also expected to tackle the task of hammering-out a joint South Korea-US plan for handling such talks, based on her recent interview with a Singapore news channel.

“There wasn‘t direct contact, but you know, in our discussions with each, we did ascertain that they are, both sides, willing to sit and discuss,” Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in an English interview with Channel News Asia, which aired Wednesday.

“And so the task now is how do you bring the two sides together,” she added.

Both Washington and Pyongyang have expressed their willingness to talk, but the US is still seen to be skeptical about the North’s “true intentions.”

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)