After meeting with South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung in Seoul, Joseph Yun also told reporters that he sees the resumed inter-Korean talks and easing tensions after the North's decision to join the upcoming Winter Olympics as a "good opportunity" for denuclearization efforts.
"I told him ... that US of course wants to see a very secure, very successful Olympics, and we want to do what we can to help," he added, referring to his meeting with Chun. "And I also emphasize to them that this is a good opportunity to make progress on denuclearization, which is of course the ultimate goal of the United States. And we agreed to talk again at some future date."
Yun's trip to Seoul comes amid easing tensions in the wake of the North sending its athletes to the Winter Olympics that will kick off on Feb. 9 in the alpine town of PyeongChang. North Korea's participation was based on a series of inter-Korean talks, which were held for the first time in more than two years.
The Seoul government is hoping that the resumed talks and recent exchanges between the Koreas could pave the way for dialogue between the U.S. and the North to find a breakthrough on the nuclear stalemate.
The unification ministry later said in a press release, that Chun and Yun discussed pending issues, including the North's planned participation in the Olympics and its missile and nuclear issues.
The ministry added that Yun reaffirmed that the US remains open to credible talks with the North that could lead to its denuclearization and agreed to closely communicate to turn the sport event into a "virtuous cycle" in resolving the North's nuclear problem.
Yun is to meet with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, on Monday. (Yonhap)