In this March 26, 2018, photo, Republic of Korea's former Trade Minister and now Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong listens to a reporter's question during a briefing at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, ROK. (LEE JIN-MAN / AP)
SEOUL - The United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are expected to reopen denuclearisation talks soon and they will go well, a senior official from the Republic of Korea (ROK) said on Thursday, boosting hopes for progress in negotiations after a prolonged stalemate.
My impression was that North Korea and the United States would carry out dialogue soon, and it would go well
Kim Hyun-chong, Deputy National Security Adviser, Republic of Korea
ROK's deputy national security adviser, Kim Hyun-chong, gave his upbeat assessment after meeting US envoy for DPRK Stephen Biegun in Seoul.
"My impression was that North Korea and the United States would carry out dialogue soon, and it would go well," Kim told reporters after the one-hour meeting, without elaborating.
The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.
Talks aimed at dismantling DPRK's nuclear and missile programmes have stalled since a failed second summit between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam in February.
Trump and Kim met again in June at the inter-Korean border and agreed to reopen working-level negotiations.
But DPRK has fired a series of short-range missiles since then, lambasting US-ROK joint military exercises and the adoption of new weapons, while chastising ROK President Moon Jae-in as "impudent".
A DPRK foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday took issue with ROK's acquisition of American F-35 stealth fighter jets, saying it was not interested in dialogue that was "accompanied by military threats".
Kim, the ROK official, said Biegun expressed gratitude over ROK's restrained response to the DPRK's criticism.
Biegun, who steers the working-level talks, said on Wednesday that he was prepared "to engage" as soon as his DPRK counterparts were ready.
Kim said that ROK's presidential National Security Council would convene later on Thursday to review an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, that ROK had threatened to scrap amid a spiralling diplomatic and trade dispute.
The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) could expire on Saturday if either side decides not to roll it over.
According to Kim, Biegun raised the issue, which has worried Washington as the accord is instrumental in three-way efforts to counter DPRK's nuclear and missile threats.
"I've told him we'll carefully examine it and make a decision in a way that serves our national interest," Kim said.
HONG KONG NEWS