SEOUL - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong have discussed efforts to engage with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including the prospect of humanitarian aid, their offices said on Friday.
While the allies both want the DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons and end its missile programme, they have at times disagreed on the approach, with the ROK’s President Moon Jae-in keen to build economic ties between the two Koreas while the United States has long insisted on action on denuclearisation as a first step.
The ROK's foreign ministry, in a statement on the call between Blinken and Chung, said they had agreed to hold detailed discussions on ways to cooperate with the DPRK, including humanitarian cooperation, and continue to make efforts to engage with it.
The ROK's foreign ministry, in a statement on the call between Blinken and Chung, said they had agreed to hold detailed discussions on ways to cooperate with the DPRK, including humanitarian cooperation, and continue to make efforts to engage with it
"The secretary and the minister agreed to continue the coordinated diplomatic efforts ... to make substantial progress toward the goal of complete denuclearisation and establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," the ministry said.
Blinken confirmed US support for dialogue and engagement between the DPRK and the ROK, the US Department of State said in a statement.
According to the ROK lawmakers, the DPRK is seeking some easing of international sanctions before it resumes negotiations with the United States. But the United States has shown little inclination to ease sanctions before talks over the DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Nevertheless, the ROK officials have been encouraged by a declaration by the Biden administration, which earlier this year concluded a review of the DPRK policy, that it would pursue "practical" diplomacy with the DPRK.
Blinken plans to call on Southeast Asian counterparts in a virtual meeting later on Friday to fully implement sanctions on the DPRK, state department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday.
About 28,500 US troops are stationed in the ROK as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war.
HONG KONG NEWS