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'S. Korea, US in Close Communication Ahead of Summits'

13 April 2018, 01:41 | Lucy Hill

A shopper picks up a pack of U.S. beef at a wholesale store in Seoul

A shopper picks up a pack of U.S. beef at a wholesale store in Seoul

In Pyongyang's first mention of official dialogue with the United States and the summit with Seoul, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) added that Kim set "strategic and tactical issues" to be upheld by the Workers' Party.

Mr Chung Eui Yong, who personally delivered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's summit offer to US President Donald Trump last month, returned to the US capital unannounced on Wednesday.

The two envoys, according to Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized building a future-oriented bilateral relationship along with joint coordination and communication among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington on how to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

On Monday, Trump said, "I think there'll be great respect paid by both parties, and hopefully we'll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea".

A Japanese foreign minister last visited the country in December 2015, and this marks Kono's first trip to Seoul since he took the post as Tokyo's top envoy last August.

After the meeting, a Japanese government official explained to reporters that the two foreign ministers had agreed to maintain maximum pressure until North Korea abandoned its nuclear and missile programs in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" manner.

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US officials confirmed on Sunday that North Korea directly told the White House that Kim would be interested in talks and was prepared to discuss denuclearization at a summit with Trump.

The issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea remains highly critical for Japan.

Hong said that while some media say "spring (pronounced "bom" in Korean) has come to the South and North", others see it as a literal 'bomb'. "And in my conversations with North Koreans over the years, it is clear that the United States has to take a number of steps first, such as ending the alliance with South Korea, removing all of its military troops off the Korean Peninsula".

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrives at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday.

The relationship between Seoul and Tokyo turned sour when the new South Korean administration began demanding an official apology from the Japanese government for Japan's World War II atrocities against its Asian neighbors, such as its sexual slavery of thousands of Korean women. "The Moon and Kim summit should be getting ready for the denuclearization talks but not actually doing it for themselves".

He will then pay a courtesy call on President Moon Jae-in and also meet with National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon to be briefed on how Seoul is preparing for an inter-Korean summit slated for April 27.



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