US special representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Affairs Stephen Biegun (right) shakes hands with the Republic of Korea (ROK)'s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon prior to their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, Feb 9, 2019. Biegun met Lee in Seoul on May 9, 2019 to exchange opinions on situations on the Korean Peninsula. (KIM MIN-HEE / POOL / AFP)
SEOUL — US Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Affairs Stephen Biegun consulted with his counterpart from the Republic of Korea (ROK) here Thursday on the Korean Peninsula issues, local media reported.
Biegun and Lee were believed to have discussed ways to provide Seoul's food assistance to the DPRK, according to local media
Biegun, who arrived in Seoul Wednesday, met with Lee Do-hoon, ROK special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, to exchange opinions on situations on the peninsula.
Biegun and Lee were believed to have discussed ways to provide Seoul's food assistance to the DPRK, according to local media.
During the phone talks with ROK President Moon Jae-in Tuesday, US President Donald Trump expressed his support for Seoul's humanitarian food aid plan for the DPRK people, saying it would be timely and positive, according to ROK's presidential Blue House.
Biegun's trip to Seoul came after the second summit between top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and Trump ended with no agreement late February in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
Kim Deuk-hwan, Seoul's foreign ministry deputy spokesman, said at a press briefing that ROK and the United States have a common view that the DPRK required the humanitarian food assistance for the DPRK people.
Kim said the ROK government will push for the humanitarian food aid for the DPRK in close cooperation with the international community, including the United States.
In this May 5, 2019 photo, visitors look through binoculars as they stand on an observation deck of the Goseong observatory on ROK's side overlooking the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) towards the east coast of the DPRK. (ED JONES / AFP)
UN Command approves opening of 2 more DMZ peace trails
Coming on the same day of the meeting between Biegun and Lee was the approval granted by the UN Command for the opening of two additional peace trails on the ROK side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
The UN Command said in a statement that Gen. Robert B. Abrams, the commander of the UN Command and the US Forces Korea (USFK), approved the initial phase of two additional peace trails in the DMZ, which has divided the Korean Peninsula since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Once completed, the DMZ peace trails will increase the number of UN Command-approved educational sites to 16 in total, according to a statement by the UN Command
ROK announced a plan last month to create peace trails on ROK's side of the DMZ in three border towns: Goseong, Cheorwon and Paju on the inter-Korean border's eastern, central and western sections each.
From the three sections, the withdrawal of a part of guard posts and the excavation of the remains of soldiers killed in the Korean War were conducted to ease military tensions across the border.
The 7.9 km-long Goseong peace trail was opened late last month to ordinary people on a trial basis. The Goseong trail did not include the DMZ section, but the Cheorwon and Paju trails would include the routes inside ROK's side of the DMZ.
Once completed, the DMZ peace trails will increase the number of UN Command-approved educational sites to 16 in total, according to the statement.
The peace trails were created to encourage inter-Korean exchanges and learning opportunities, the statement added.
The UN Command handles DMZ issues as the Korean War ended with an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty.
HONG KONG NEWS