US, North Korea envoys plans more talks ahead of Trump-Kim summit

US, North Korea envoys plans more talks ahead of Trump-Kim summit

FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva
File phot of the North Korean flag. (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun held three days of talks in Pyongyang to prepare a Feb 27-28 summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and plans to meet again with his counterpart head of that meeting, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Biegun met with Kim Hyok Chol from Wednesday until Friday in Pyongyang and "discussed advancing President Trump and Chairman Kim's Singapore summit commitments of complete denuclearisation, transforming U.S.-DPRK relations, and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," a State Department statement said.

"Special Representative Biegun and Special Representative Kim agreed to meet again in advance of President Trump and Chairman Kim's second summit," it added, referring to North Korea by the acronym for its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

South Korea's Yonhap News agency quoted that country's foreign ministry as saying that Biegun arrived back in Seoul from Pyongyang on Friday evening, Seoul time, and would meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Saturday morning to provide her with a quick briefing on the results of his talks.

Biegun said last week his Pyongyang talks would be aimed at seeking progress on commitments made at a first meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June and mapping out "a set of concrete deliverables" for the second summit.

He said Washington was willing to discuss "many actions" to improve ties and entice Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and that Trump was ready to end the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

At the same time, he set out an extensive list of demands that North Korea would have to meet eventually, including a full disclosure its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump has been eager for a second summit despite a lack of significant moves by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. He and Biegun have stressed the economic benefits to North Korea if it does so.

Trump announced the plan for his second meeting with Kim in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

He said much work remained to be done in the push for peace with North Korea, but cited the halt in its nuclear testing and no new missile launches in 15 months as proof of progress.

Source: Reuters