Sat, 16 Jan 2021

Seoul [South Korea], July 4 (ANI): The top American envoy for North Korea will visit South Korea and Japan next week amid stalled denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang, a diplomatic source here informed Yonhap news agency on Saturday.

According to the source, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun will meet with officials in Seoul early next week, likely Tuesday, and spend three days here before hopping over to Tokyo.

"Biegun may be accompanied on this trip by Allison Hooker, who is the National Security Council's senior director for Asian affairs at the White House," the source added.

Biegun is expected to make himself available for the South Korean press during his stay and to meet with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, and other Seoul officials.

It was not immediately clear if Biegun would also visit China during this upcoming trip to Asia.

The trip comes after South Korean President Moon Jae-in committed to working toward a fourth meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before the US presidential election in November.

Trump and Kim have met three times to try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons programme in exchange for US concessions.

The two sides have failed to make progress since their second summit in February last year ended abruptly due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearisation and sanctions relief from the US.

Biegun said earlier this week that he believes another summit is unlikely before the election, citing COVID-19 as a reason. But he stated there is still time to make "substantial progress." (ANI)

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