Anchor: The top diplomats of South Korea and the U.S. met in San Francisco to discuss cooperation amid North Korea's threats to walk away from nuclear diplomacy and rising tensions in the Middle East. During talks, Seoul expressed its desire to resume inter-Korean initiatives.
Choi You-sun reports.
Report: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to continue close cooperation to maintain the momentum for engagement with North Korea regarding its denuclearization.
During their meeting held near San Francisco on Tuesday, the top diplomats assessed the situation following the North's threats to take a "shocking" action and to unveil a "new strategic weapon" in apparent protest over deadlocked negotiations with the U.S.
[Sound bite: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Korean)] (00:30)
"Secretary Pompeo and I checked up on the various situations involving North Korea and exchanged views on ways to revive the dialogue momentum going forward."
In line with President Moon Jae-in's resolve to resume inter-Korean economic cooperation in the New Year, Kang reportedly expressed Seoul's desire to resume projects that are not bound by international sanctions.
[Sound bite: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Korean)] (04:10)
"While our general position is that U.S.-North Korea talks and inter-Korean dialogue should supplement each other in a virtuous cycle, depending on circumstances, talks between the U.S. and the North could come before inter-Korean cooperation or vice versa. It is important for the two Koreas to do what they can to maintain momentum for engagement, especially when diplomatic efforts between Washington and Pyongyang are at a standstill."
Kang added that the U.S. side understands South Korea's hopes and intentions for inter-Korean cooperation.
Amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, Pompeo reportedly urged South Korea, which holds a large economic stake in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, to participate in the U.S.-led campaign to safeguard the region.
[Sound bite: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Korean)] (05:53)
"Since 70 percent of South Korea's crude imports come from the region, we believe that we should pay great attention and make some type of contribution. We also have to consider the safety of South Korean people and businesses in the region, as well as bilateral relations with Iran before making a final decision."
During a trilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the three sides reaffirmed the importance of their security cooperation in addressing the North Korean nuclear issue, regional peace and stability.
The top diplomats also shared concerns about the situation in the Middle East and agreed to seek ways to enhance three-way cooperation and communication.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.