The U.S. envoy to North Korea arrived in Seoul on Monday for talks with his South Korean counterparts on how to deal with a surge in missile launches from Pyongyang and concerns about a possible resumption of their nuclear tests.
US special representative Sung Kim and his deputy Jung Pak will meet with South Korean officials, including nuclear representative Noh Kyu-duk, during a five-day visit.
His arrival coincides with the start of nine-day joint military exercises held annually by US and South Korean troops. The exercises are “computer simulation defensive command post training” and will not involve ground maneuvers by troops, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday.
North Korea has condemned the joint exercises as war trials, which have been scaled back in recent years as part of attempts to engage Pyongyang diplomatically, as well as due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On Saturday, North Korea tested what state media said were missiles intended to carry tactical nuclear weapons.
Upon his arrival, US envoy Kim told reporters he was in Seoul to continue “close coordination” on developments in North Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported, without elaborating.
Sung Kim has said he is open to talks with North Korea at any time without preconditions, but Pyongyang has so far rejected such proposals, accusing Washington of maintaining hostile policies such as sanctions and military exercises.
South Korean media reported that the US envoy is also expected to meet with the transition team for South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who is due to take office in May.
A spokesperson for the team said there was no confirmed meeting between Yoon and Sung Kim, and could not immediately confirm whether the envoy would meet with other transition officials.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.