- Despite having the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as a strong theme, Biegun does not aim in any way whatsoever to meet with North Korean officials.
- “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.,” said Kwon Jong Gun, a senior North Korean foreign ministry official.
- Negotiations have stalled between the two countries since 2019.
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who is on an official visit to Seoul and Tokyo, said today that Washington is not keen on meeting with North Korean officials, at a time when there is a negotiation stalemate between the two countries. Biegun is on an official visit to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
His visit gave rise to rumors that Washington is seeking to resume diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. On Tuesday, a senior official at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said his country had no intention of resuming negotiations with the United States, and devalued South Korea’s role as mediator.
Today, Biegun clarified that his trip to the Far East, despite having the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as a strong theme, does not aim in any way whatsoever to meet with North Korean officials. Biegun leaves for Japan on Thursday.
“I’ve seen some recent press reporting that the North Koreans are not prepared to meet with me on this visit,” Biegun told reporters after talks with South Korean officials. “We did not request a meeting with the North Koreans. This visit is to meet with our close friends and allies, the Republic of Korea, and we had an excellent discussion,” he explained.
Biegun was referring to a statement released by North Korean diplomacy, in which Kwon Jong Gun, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he did not want to meet with the Americans during the visit of the US deputy secretary of state.
On Tuesday, North Korea categorically stated that it had no interest whatsoever in holding talks with the United States based on suspicion that South Korea was working around the clock to arrange another Kim Jong Un-Donald Trump summit.
“Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.,” said Kwon Jong Gun, a senior North Korean foreign ministry official. The statement was published a mere few hours after Biegun, the top U.S. negotiator on North Korea, landed in Seoul.
Negotiations are at an impasse after two summits between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong -un in 2018 and 2019. North Korea has said it only accepted a partial reduction from its nuclear program in exchange for immediate relief from sanctions imposed by Washington – a request that was rejected by the US President.
In the face of this impasse, in recent months North Korea has repeatedly said that it will not return to the negotiating table with the United States unless it receives substantial promises from Washington.
North Korea has also not been in good terms with South Korea recently, having interrupted all diplomatic ties and literally blowing up its inter-Korean liaison office last June.