NATIONAL

Seoul envoys to deliver NK's message to US

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Mar 8, 2018 - 16:40
  • Updated : Mar 8, 2018 - 16:53
Seoul’s top national security officials on Thursday headed to the US, their first stop in President Moon Jae-in’s campaign to rally international support in engaging North Korea.

Early Thursday, National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon headed to Washington on a four-day trip to win US support for the recent inter-Korean agreement. 

National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong (left) and National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon speak to reporters at the Incheon International Airport on Thursday. Yonhap

Earlier in the day, Moon stressed the importance of the role the US plays in inter-Korean relations.

“Two days ago, the special envoys returned from Pyongyang. It was a big step in denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said at a Christian event held north of Seoul.

“It is the result brought through inter-Korean dialogue and the strong support of the US.”

Moon’s five-member special delegation, led by Chung, returned to the South on Tuesday after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. During their visit, the envoys reached a number of agreements including plans for an inter-Korean summit at the end of April and cessation of nuclear and missile tests while the two Koreas are engaged in talks. The North also expressed willingness to talk with the US, without any preconditions or demands from Seoul and its allies.

Ahead of the North Korean trip, Seoul officials said that the US, as well as China, Japan and Russia will be briefed on the results of the trip.

On the trip to the US, Chung and Suh will meet with their US counterparts and possibly with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, Chung’s first meeting with be with top US intelligence and security officials, followed by talks with heads of US government agencies concerned with North Korean issues. Seoul’s presidential office, however, said that the details of Chung’s itinerary are being negotiated with the US.

“The most urgent issue is to facilitate talks between the US and North Korea,” Chung said ahead of his departure from Incheon International Airport.

Asked about media reports claiming that Kim had said that North Korea could halt the operations of the nuclear facility in Yongbyon, Chung said that it was too early to discuss such details.

Moon’s top national security advisor declined to comment about the message he plans to deliver to the US.

“The message to the US is focused on conveying the sincerity and the intentions of Kim,” a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters on Thursday on condition of anonymity, adding that it is too early to discuss details.

Chung and Suh, however, are thought to be traveling to the US with a message from Kim. After their return to Seoul, Moon’s special envoys said that they have “North Korea’s position that will be delivered to the US.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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