North Korea turns away US official aiming for nuclear talks

A State Division official arrived in South Korea Tuesday for talks the US hopes would result in “the ultimate, totally verified denuclearization” of North Korea — however leaders of the Hermit Kingdom instructed him to take a hike earlier than he even arrived.

“Deputy Secretary of State and Particular Consultant for North Korea Stephen E. Biegun will journey to Seoul and Tokyo July 7-10, to fulfill with officers within the Republic of Korea and Japan to proceed shut allied cooperation on a spread of bilateral and world points and additional strengthen coordination on the ultimate, totally verified denuclearization of the DPRK,” the division stated in a press release, referring to the nation’s formal identify, the Democratic Individuals’s Republic of Korea.

However Kwon Jong Gun, director normal for US affairs at North Korea’s overseas ministry, shot down the thought of resuming face-to-face talks with the US, which stalled after a summit in Vietnam didn’t make any progress in February 2019.

“It’s simply the time for [South Korea] to cease meddling in others’ affairs however it appears there is no such thing as a remedy or prescription for its unhealthy behavior. Explicitly talking as soon as once more, we’ve no intention to take a seat head to head with the US,” Kwon stated, in response to South Korea’s Yonhap Information Company.

Kwon’s assertion got here days after North Korean First Vice Overseas Minister Choe Solar Hui — whom Biegun has referred to as his potential negotiating associate if talks resume — insisted the North received’t resume negotiations except President Trump abandons what the dictatorship described as “hostile” insurance policies.

He criticized the Trump administration for contemplating diplomacy with the North as “nothing greater than a instrument for grappling its political disaster,” referring to the coronavirus pandemic and the financial toll it took on the US, Fox Information reported.

Biegun landed on the US Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, the place he and his delegation underwent COVID-19 testing upon arrival, resulting in a delay of their departure for Seoul, Yonhap reported.

That reportedly led to the cancellation of a dinner that US Ambassador Harry Harris had deliberate to host for Biegun.

“Out of an abundance of warning and in session with Republic of Korea well being authorities, Deputy Secretary of State and Particular Consultant for North Korea Stephen Biegun, members of his delegation, and the navy air crew are at the moment present process testing for COVID-19 at Osan Air Base,” a US embassy spokesperson stated.

“Upon affirmation that every one people have acquired detrimental take a look at outcomes, the delegation will proceed to Seoul.”

In Seoul, Biegun is predicted to carry talks with Lee Do Hoon, Seoul’s nuclear envoy, about methods to interrupt the deadlock within the nuclear negotiations with the North, which has resumed testing missiles and different weapons associated to its nuclear program.

Nuclear talks between the US and the North have stalled because the no-deal summit in Hanoi final yr between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The North needed US sanctions dropped, whereas the US needed denuclearization first, a requirement Kim rejected outright.

The 2 sides held working-level talks later that yr, however no progress was made.

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