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Wednesday, December 09, 2020, 16:44
US envoy says ties with ROK will remain strong under Biden
By Reuters
Wednesday, December 09, 2020, 16:44 By Reuters

Stephen Biegun (left), US Deputy Secretary of State and Special Representative for the DPRK, poses with ROK's Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (right) for a photo session during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on December 9, 2020. (KOREA POOL / AFP)

SEOUL - A senior US envoy on Wednesday said the trust and alliance between Washington and Seoul will remain firm regardless of the upcoming change in administrations, the Republic of Korea’s  foreign ministry said.

The remarks came as the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who helped lead unsuccessful efforts to turn US President Donald Trump’s personal outreach to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) into progress in denuclearization talks, met with ROK’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun.

The remarks came as the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who helped lead unsuccessful efforts to turn US President Donald Trump’s personal outreach to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) into progress in denuclearization talks, met with ROK’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun

ALSO READ: Senior US official to visit S. Korea for talks on Korean Peninsula

Choi asked Biegun to play a bridging role to ensure the achievements the two allies have made together make progress before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month.

Choi said the two allies have made significant achievements in the past three years under ROK President Moon Jae-in, in building peace on the Korean peninsula, cooperation in COVID-19 responses, and relocation of US military installations in the ROK.

Neither side publicly mentioned an ongoing multi-billion dollar dispute between the two allies over how much Seoul should pay toward maintaining the roughly 28,500 US troops on the peninsula.

Biegun also met with ROK’s chief nuclear negotiator Lee Do-hoon to discuss DPRK’s denuclearization issues, the US embassy in Seoul said in a Twitter post.

ALSO READ: Top ROK, US envoys hold phone talks on Korean Peninsula

Biegun is also scheduled to meet a number of ROK officials, including the foreign minister and the minister of unification, who handles relations with the DPRK.

The visit may be the last for Biegun in his current role, after Trump lost his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Biden, who will take office in January.

While Biegun has said he is ready for discussions at any time, the DPRK says it won’t return to the negotiating table until the United States drops its hostile policies.

READ MORE: ROK offers to jointly tackle COVID-19 with DPRK

The visit comes as the DPRK lashed out at ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha for casting doubt over its claim that there were no coronavirus outbreaks there, warning of consequences for her “impudent” comment.


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