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Sung Kim discusses N. Korean nuclear with S. Korea and Japan  

Sung Kim discusses N. Korean nuclear with S. Korea and Japan  

Posted June. 21, 2021 07:24,   

Updated June. 21, 2021 07:24


The U.S. special representative for North Korea Sung Kim will start his official schedule by beginning a bilateral discussion with North Korean nuclear envoy in Korea and a trilateral discussion with Korea’s and Japan’s envoys. Kim’s message toward North Korea is garnering attention as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced his first official statement to the Joe Biden administration that his country should be ready for dialogue and confrontation with the U.S. A special representative for North Korea is a position that negotiates with North Korea.  

Sung Kim will meet with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk at a hotel in Seoul on Monday morning after arriving in Korea on Saturday and having personal time until Sunday. It is the first discussion between North Korea special representatives in South Korea and the U.S. after the U.S. President Joe Biden publicly announced the appointment of Kim at a press conference after the South Korea-U.S. summit on May 21 (local time). There will be a trilateral meeting including Funakoshi Takehiro, Japan’s Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the same day. Noh and Funakoshi will also have a separate discussion alone.  

The three countries will announce a message toward North Korea right after Kim Jong Un’s announcement that showed his intention to have discussions with the U.S. They will share their assessment on Kim Jong Un’s announcement and discuss concrete ways to bring the North to the discussion table for denuclearization that has been ceased after the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in February 2019 broke down. “We must focus on stably managing the affairs on the Josun Peninsula (Korean Peninsula),” said Kim Jong Un at the third plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party eighth Central Committee that closed on Friday, signaling that the North is open for discussions.  

The U.S. representative will meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in the afternoon. He is scheduled to meet with Unification Minister Lee In-young and Vice Minister Choi Young-jun on Tuesday before meeting with Director of National Security Suh Hoon at Cheong Wa Dae. Sung Kim will meet with wide-ranged personnel in Cheong Wa Dae, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Unification and academia.  

“We haven’t heard about his plan to contact the North by visiting Panmunjom during his visit to Korea,” said a South Korean government insider. But as Kim Jung Un mentioned the possibility of talks, there is still a chance that he would try to contact the North.

The Institute for National Security Strategy under the National Intelligence Service projected that Kim Jong Un is likely to visit China first before starting talks with the U.S.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com