Washington’s special envoy to North Korea, Chung Kim, visited South Korea on Monday to say the United States has no hostile intentions against Pyongyang and is ready to meet “anywhere, anytime.”
Sang Kim arrived in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day trip.
The meeting led to a new stalemate in US-South Korean joint military exercises after a brief re-establishment of relations between Koreas in July, as North Korea warned that they could pose a security crisis.
“The United States has no hostile intentions towards North Korea,” Kim told reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Noah Qi-duk.
“Integrated military exercises between the United States and South Korea are long-term, routine, purely defensive in nature and support the security of both our countries.”
No said the two discussed possible humanitarian aid to North Korea and ways to resume stalled nuclear disarmament talks.
“We have agreed to work together to resume talks with North Korea,” he said.
On Sunday, Kim met with Foreign Minister Chung Yoo-yong at the minister’s residence, where they discussed ways to quickly resume the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, a foreign ministry official said.
In an interview with KBS, South Korea’s national broadcaster, Kim urged Pyongyang to return to the conversation, saying Washington was ready to address his concerns.
“We are ready to address the full range of issues and concerns, including those that are important to the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” Kim said. “Given the opportunity, we can make significant progress.”
The US ambassador is expected to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morkoulo in Seoul on Tuesday (24).
The nine-day joint military exercise began on August 16, despite the North Korean state media’s silence so far, despite fears that the country could test a missile or take other steps to underline its denial.
North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that US exercises appear to be futile, while “hostile acts” such as military exercises continue.
President Joe Biden’s government has said it will explore diplomacy to achieve North Korea’s nuclear weapons, but has not been willing to ease sanctions.
The United States supports efforts to improve relations between the two Koreas and is ready for direct talks with Pyongyang, Kim said.
“I look forward to meeting my North Korean counterparts anywhere, anytime,” he said.
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