South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy will visit the United States this week, the foreign ministry said today, after North Korea’s latest announcement that it was ready to resume long-stalled disarmament talks.
Wi Sung-Lac plans to meet William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, and Stephen Bosworth, Washington’s special envoy on Pyongyang, during his three-day visit beginning Wednesday, said ministry spokesman Cho Byung-Jae.
Wi is also scheduled to meet Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
“Wi will talk with US officials on how to coordinate policy on North Korea’s nuclear programme and on how to move forward with dialogue with North Korea,” the spokesman said.
The North abandoned the six-party negotiations aimed at scrapping its nuclear arsenal in April 2009 and conducted its second nuclear test a month later. But diplomatic efforts to restart the dialogue have picked up this summer.
Nuclear envoys from the two Koreas held a rare meeting in Bali in July.
That was followed by a US-North Korean meeting in New York aimed at restarting the talks grouping China, Japan, the United States, the two Koreas and Russia.
The North’s leader Kim Jong-Il reportedly told President Dmitry Medvedev during a visit to Russia last month that Pyongyang was ready to resume the six-party talks.
But both the United States and South Korea dismissed the proposal as nothing new, with Seoul calling for action before the discussions resume.