U.S. envoy emphasizes dialogue with N. Korea: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-09-11 16:38 Updated : 2018-09-11 16:38
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- The new U.S. special envoy on North Korea said Tuesday it's important to maintain the momentum of dialogue with North Korea despite some difficulties.

"We have some hard work to do," Stephen Biegun said at the outset of talks with South Korea's top nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon in Seoul. "But we also have a tremendous opportunity" created by back-to-back summits among the leaders of the U.S. and the two Koreas, he added. "We need to do everything we can to make the most of this moment of opportunity."

Biegun, appointed as the State Department's special representative for North Korea late last month, mentioned a proverb saying, "The beginning is half done." "And this is the beginning," he added. "So what we need to do is to finish the job."

Lee agreed that the allies are faced with both challenges and opportunities in efforts for denuclearization and a peace regime on the peninsula. Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Lee said they had "in-depth" discussions on a related strategy. "We agreed about how important South Korea-U.S. coordination is in such a process," he said.

Biegun said the two sides have a "very strong working relationship." "I'm looking forward to achieving this process successfully, working closely with our friends and allies here in South Korea," he said.

Biegun, a former Ford Motor Company executive, paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha earlier in the day. In a meeting later in the day with Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon who handles relations with North Korea, Biegun expressed his support for South Korea's efforts to deepen inter-Korean relations.

"I very much share your resolve that we need to find a pathway to the future on the Korean Peninsula that allows inter-Korean relations to deepen as much as possible," he said. He arrived here Monday as part of his first Northeast Asia tour as the special representative that will also take him to Beijing and Tokyo.