South Korea's top envoy to the United States said Thursday that he is hopeful for progress in U.S.-North Korea talks this week ahead of their second bilateral summit planned for later this month.
In a meeting with reporters, Amb. Cho Yoon-je said he is looking forward to meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who is currently in Pyongyang for talks with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Hyok-chol.
The two sides are meeting to hammer out the details of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam.
"(Special Representative Biegun) was well prepared before heading to Pyongyang, so I am hopeful that they will have detailed discussions," Cho said.
At the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June, the North Korean leader committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.
But the sides have been at an impasse, with the U.S. demanding more concrete steps toward denuclearization and North Korea complaining of the lack of "corresponding measures" for the dismantlement of some of its nuclear and missile testing facilities.
In particular the North has called for sanctions relief and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
"I have explained many times to the U.S. that the U.S. also needs to offer bold corresponding measures," Cho said.
He also said Trump sent a "good message" in his State of the Union speech this week by terming the push for peace a part of "bold new diplomacy." (Yonhap)