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Iran Press TV

US envoy arrives in South Korea in last-ditch effort to revive North Korea talks

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 08 December 2020 3:44 PM

A US envoy has arrived in South Korea in a last-ditch attempt by the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump to renew stalled nuclear talks with North Korea.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who has led working-level talks with North Korea, landed at a US military base south of Seoul on Tuesday and was due to meet South Korean officials during a four-day visit.

According to the Yonhap news agency, Beigun was scheduled to meet South Korea's foreign minister, minister of unification, and nuclear envoy, among other officials. Biegun may also pay a courtesy call on South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The tour may be the last for Biegun in his current role, after Trump lost his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Joe Biden last month.

The talks with North Korea, spearheaded by Biegun and his South Korean counterparts, have been stalled since late 2019. While the Trump administration has said it is ready for discussions at any time, senior officials in Pyongyang say they won't return to the negotiating table until the United States abandons its hostile policies.

The United States has imposed rounds of unilateral sanctions and spearheaded multilateral ones against Pyongyang since 2006 over its nuclear and missile programs.

During his presidency, Trump attempted to court Pyongyang, and although he has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times, he has refused to relieve any of the sanctions on the North. That has in turn hampered further diplomacy.

Last December, Kim ended a moratorium on the country's missile tests and said North Korea would soon develop a "new strategic weapon." The moratorium had been put in place as a goodwill gesture amid then-ongoing diplomacy with South Korea.

The North is also at loggerheads with South Korea over its military drills with the US, considering the war games rehearsals for an invasion.

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