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S. Korea, US Envoys Hold Talks on N. Korea Nuclear Issue amid Joint Drills

Hot Issues of the Week2021-08-29


The top nuclear envoys from South Korea and the United States discussed resuming the denuclearization dialogue with North Korea amid the allies' ongoing annual military exercise.

The talks between Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim were held in Seoul Monday morning.

Following the meeting, Noh said the allies agreed to work toward swiftly resuming dialogue with the North while safely managing the situation after the reinstatement of inter-Korean communication channels last month. North Korea has refused to answer to the South's repeated calls on the restored hotline since August 10 in protest of the allies' joint drills.

The South Korean official added that they also discussed humanitarian aid cooperation on health care, tackling infectious diseases, water sanitation, and sending aid through international and nongovernmental agencies.

Kim reaffirmed U.S. support for inter-Korean dialogue and engagement specified in a joint statement signed by the leaders of their respective nations in May, adding that the U.S. will continue to support inter-Korean humanitarian cooperative projects.

As for Pyongyang's protests against the joint drill, Kim stressed that the ongoing exercise is "purely defensive" in nature, before renewing an offer from June to meet anywhere, at any time.

Noh also held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, who doubles as Moscow's nuclear envoy, on Tuesday.

Assessing Moscow's support behind efforts to resume dialogue with Pyongyang and to promote inter-Korean cooperation, Noh sought Moscow's constructive role in achieving stability on the peninsula and bringing the North back to negotiations.

Morgulov agreed on the importance of maintaining regional stability and the need to resume talks between the two Koreas, between the North and the U.S., and also with countries that have vested interest.

Praising Seoul's peace efforts, the Russian official also reaffirmed Moscow's intent to play a constructive role towards a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue.

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