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US to reject talks with NK excluding SK in major policy shift

US to reject talks with NK excluding SK in major policy shift

Posted March. 27, 2013 09:10,   


The White House has conveyed the message through diplomatic channels to South Korea`s Park Geun-hye administration that Washington will not set policy toward the Korean Peninsula focused on South Korea from now on, it was reported Monday. The U.S. government also reportedly said it will not hold talks with North Korea talks excluding South Korea. This is noteworthy in that the move is a fundamental shift in U.S. policy toward the peninsula.

In a recent meeting with a senior South Korean official, a ranking U.S. official is known to have said, “In the past, U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula in the past was the foundation of South Korea’s policy toward North Korea, but from now on, South Korea’s policy toward the North will be reflected by being absorbed as part of U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula.”

Ranking South Korean officials also said, "As North Korea-U.S. agreement on Feb. 29 last year, which was forged by excluding South Korea, has ended in miserable failure due to the North’s nuclear test and missile launches, the Obama administration has casted fundamental doubt over its approach toward the peninsula." The key element of the mutual agreement was that if Pyongyang halted its uranium enrichment program and stopped its nuclear tests and missile launches, Washington would provide 240,000 tons of food aid in return. The agreement has turned into a blank promise, however, in the wake of a string of provocations by North Korea.

Ranking government officials in Seoul said, "To a certain extent, the U.S. considered North Korea as "substance" that should be addressed and South Korea as a "means" to tackle the problem. But the failure of the agreement has led to politicians in Washington deeply reflecting on such a view.

To Seoul’s policy coordination delegation that visited the U.S. in January, key U.S. officials also reportedly conveyed a message that whatever policy South Korea opts for toward North Korea, the U.S. will fully endorse and support it.

According to South Korean officials, the new U.S. policy direction will likely be discussed through high-level consultative meetings, as Foreign Minister Yoon Byung-se will visit Washington on April 2-4 and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Seoul in mid-April. It is unusual for the top diplomats of Seoul and Washington to hold successive meetings in either country in an interval of just 10 days. When visiting the U.S., Yoon will be accompanied by Korea`s chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam, the representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs.