SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) — Deputy nuclear envoys from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan were to meet in Tokyo Friday to coordinate their next steps in getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
The trilateral meeting comes after a series of bilateral meetings between the member nations of the six-party talks, which also involve China and Russia.
Kim Gunn, director-general for North Korean nuclear affairs at South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, will meet with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Sydney Seiler and Shigeki Takizaki.
Seiler, the U.S. special envoy for the six-party talks, is joining the session after holding meetings with his counterparts in South Korea and China earlier this week.
After meetings in Seoul on Monday, he said North Korea should learn a lesson from the progress in the U.S.-led efforts to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
“We will continue to explore the lessons learned as it were from our experience in negotiations on the Iran deal and see what we can do to apply those lessons to bring the DPRK to the negotiating table,” he said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Following a visit to China last week, Hwang Joon-kook, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, told reporters this week that North Korea stands at a crossroads between completing its nuclear development and returning to denuclearization talks.
South Korea and the U.S. have repeatedly stressed that they are open to dialogue with the North. In the absence of a response from the North, however, they have also warned of greater pressure on the communist state.
They have called on China, North Korea’s largest ally and benefactor, to play a bigger role in reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Speaking in a rare press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong flatly rejected talks aimed at first unilaterally freezing or dismantling his country’s nuclear program.
The trilateral session in Tokyo is also expected to be used as a forum to coordinate the three countries’ position on the North Korean issue before it is raised and discussed at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Malaysia next week.