The United States and North Korea are coordinating a schedule for the top American diplomat's visit to Pyongyang and follow-up denuclearization negotiations, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.
In its parliamentary briefing, the ministry also reiterated Seoul's goal to achieve the declaration of a formal end to the
1950-53 Korean War this year, despite Washington's reported reluctance about the early declaration before Pyongyang takes tangible steps toward denuclearization.
"During the future negotiations (between the US and the North), the concrete sequence of the denuclearization process, ways to guarantee the North's security and the normalization of US-North Korea relations in conjunction with denuclearization are expected to be at issue," the ministry said in the briefing.
Media speculation has risen that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will soon travel to the communist state for a fourth visit following the latest one last month, with an apparent aim to break the perceived impasse in the denuclearization talks.
During the historic June summit in Singapore, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to build "new" bilateral ties, foster a "lasting and stable" peace regime and pursue the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.
The North has suspended its nuclear and missile tests, closed its main nuclear test site and repatriated 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the Korean War. However, it has yet to take substantive disarmament steps such as a clear declaration of its nuclear and missile programs.
In the briefing, the ministry reaffirmed that it will strive to ensure that steps for the establishment of a peace regime on the peninsula, such as the end-of-war declaration, will be taken as soon as possible.
"In line with the Panmunjom Declaration, our government's goal is to achieve the end-of-war political declaration this year when we mark the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement," the ministry said, referring to the April inter-Korean summit declaration.
"(We) are doing reviews to implement this and seeking consultations with related countries," it added.
Washington has reportedly recoiled at the premature declaration of an end to the conflict, with critics arguing that Pyongyang seeks such a declaration to help ensure the security of its regime and weaken the rational for the stationing of American troops in the South.
At the briefing, the ministry reaffirmed that Seoul will enforce anti-Pyongyang sanctions until it has conviction about the North's nuclear disarmament.
The reaffirmation came amid concerns that Seoul could unravel the global sanctions regime amid its push for cross-border economic exchanges and cooperation, such as the envisioned establishment of an inter-Korean liaison office.
"(Seoul) will maintain close cooperation with the US, the UN and the international community so that there will not be problems vis-a-vis sanctions against the North during the process of inter-Korean exchanges," the ministry said. (Yonhap)