U.S. envoy on N. Korea set to visit Seoul

By 정주원
  • Published : Jan 28, 2014 - 11:34
  • Updated : Jan 28, 2014 - 11:34
Glyn Davies, the U.S. envoy on North Korean affairs, was to fly to Seoul late Tuesday to discuss ways to denuclearize North Korea and ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula, officials here said.

The trip is part of U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Davies' tour of three Asian nations, aimed mainly at coordinating policies to denuclearize the North.

After arriving in Beijing on Sunday, Davies held talks with Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and China's top nuclear envoy Wu Dawei.

During his Seoul visit, the U.S. official is scheduled to meet with Cho Tae-yong, South Korea's top negotiator on North Korean nuclear issues, as well as other officials related to the denuclearization issue on Wednesday, the officials said.

The U.S. and South Korean officials are expected to focus on assessing the current developments in the nuclear-armed communist country, including the execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek in December.

Jang was accused of attempting to overthrow the North Korean regime while experts outside of the North said Jang's execution may have been designed to consolidate the power of the young leader.

North Korea's recent series of charm offensives as well as ways to denuclearize the country are expected to dominate the Wednesday meeting between Davies and Cho.

Communication is underway between Seoul and Pyongyang to hold a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as part of the North's recent gestures to mend ties with the South.

The rapprochement efforts also include a call for an end to slander between the countries and a demand for the suspension of the annual joint Seoul-Washington military drill scheduled from late February to April.

Pyongyang has also been pushing to reopen the long-stalled six-party denuclearization talks, but Seoul and Washington have shown reservations about the resumption, demanding the North first demonstrate its willingness to discard its nuclear arms.

Davies' visit is also part of back-to-back Asian trips by ranking U.S. foreign affairs officials. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns flew to Seoul last Monday to discuss the denuclearization issue and his visit was followed by a trip by Assistant Secretary of State on Asian affairs Daniel Russel on Sunday.

After wrapping up his Seoul visit, Davies is scheduled to fly to Tokyo on Thursday for talks with his Japanese counterpart. (Yonhap News)