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Friday, September 07, 2018, 14:35
US envoy to visit ROK, China, Japan on DPRK denuclearization
By Xinhua
Friday, September 07, 2018, 14:35 By Xinhua

This Oct 29, 2008 photo shows the White House in Washington, DC. The US State Department said on Sept 6, 2018 that its special envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Stephen Biegun will travel to the capital cities of the Republic of Korea, China and Japan on Sept 10-15 to discuss the denuclearization of the DPRK. (KAREN BLEIER / AFP)

WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS - The US State Department said on Thursday that its special envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Stephen Biegun, will travel to the capital cities of the Republic of Korea (ROK), China and Japan on Sept 10-15 to discuss the denuclearization of the DPRK. 

Biegun "will meet with his counterparts and continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore," the State Department said in a statement. 

The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.

ALSO READ: ROK to deliver Kim's message to US in exchange for Trump's

Biegun "will meet with his counterparts and continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore," the State Department said 

The current DPRK-US talks have been stuck in an impasse due to their differences in the scale of denuclearization, US sanctions, and whether to issue a war-ending declaration. 

The State Department said last month that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula shall happen before the United States signs a war-ending declaration with the DPRK; while the DPRK has argued that such a document is the first step towards peace on the peninsula, Washington said it is too early to discuss the topic. 

US media reported earlier that the signing of a joint declaration to formally end the Korean War was one of the verbal agreements between US President Donald Trump and the DPRK's top leader, Kim Jong-un, when they met on June 12 in Singapore

Kim told ROK's envoy on Wednesday that he firmly supports and will be devoted to completely removing the danger of armed conflicts and the horrors of war from the Korean Peninsula and turning it into a cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from any nuclear threat. 

Trump tweeted later on Thursday in response, thanking Kim for making such a statement and noting that "we will get it done together," referring to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

At the conclusion of the historic Trump-Kim summit in June, the two sides issued a joint statement, in which they agreed to improve bilateral relations and work together to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the peninsula. 

UN chief welcomes Kim's commitment

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed the commitment made by Kim to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

In this Sept 5, 2018 photo provided on Sept 6, 2018 by ROK Presidential Blue House via Yonhap News Agency, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, center, poses for a photograph with members of ROK delegation headed by National Security Director Chung Eui-yong, third from left, and Kim Yong-chol, a DPRK senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, most right, in Pyongyang, DPRK. (ROK PRESIDENTIAL BLUE HOUSE / YONHAP / AP)

"The secretary-general commends the continued momentum and efforts by both Koreas to further trust-building and reconciliation, in line with the Panmunjom Declaration," said Guterres in a statement issued by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. 

"He looks forward to further progress at the inter-Korean summit later this month towards sustainable peace, security, and complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions," said the spokesman. 

This comes on a day when the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned one entity and one individual related to the DPRK government, accusing them of conducting several alleged cyber-attacks. 

According to a statement issued by the Treasury, a computer programmer was charged with "having engaged in significant activities undermining cybersecurity through the use of computer networks or systems against targets outside of North Korea on behalf of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea." 

He was accused of being "part of the conspiracy responsible for conducting, among others, the February 2016 cyber-enabled fraudulent transfer of US$81 million from Bangladesh Bank, the ransomware used in the May 2017 'WannaCry 2.0' cyber-attack, and the November 2014 cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment." 

"We will not allow North Korea to undermine global cybersecurity to advance its interests and generate illicit revenues in violation of our sanctions," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

In a related action, the US Department of Justice unsealed criminal charges against the same individual on Thursday. The company he worked for was also sanctioned. 

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