Allies expected to open ‘working group’ after New York talks with N. Korea

SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top envoy on the denuclearization of North Korea will likely travel to the United States soon after its high-level talks with North Korea in New York later this week, officials here said Tuesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet with Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Thursday, their first direct talks in half a year.

Pompeo will be accompanied by Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun.

On his visit to Seoul last week, Biegun had talks with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, and reached an accord to launch a "working group" for frequent and systemic discussions on denuclearization, a peace regime and sanctions on the North.

"We are considering a schedule for Lee Do-hoon, representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, to visit the U.S. (to share the results of the New York negotiations)," Kim Deuk-hwan, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing.

He added there will be detailed discussions on the working group.

Pompeo's department said the New York session will focus on the goal of achieving a "final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD)" and implementing the Sentosa summit between President Donald Trump and the North's leader in June.

A second summit between the leaders will also be discussed.

The New York talks are being closely watched for whether they will provide momentum for the two Koreas' efforts to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War as a prelude to a full-scale peace process.

The highest-ranking U.S. military officer reportedly signaled there could be a change to U.S. military posture on the peninsula in the case of progress in denuclearization talks.

"The more successful we are in the diplomatic track, the more uncomfortable we will be in the military space," Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a forum at Duke University, according to Reuters.

He added, "Because over time, this negotiation will take a form where we're going to have to start making some changes to the military posture on the peninsula. And we're prepared to do that in support of Secretary Pompeo," He did not elaborate on what the changes might be.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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