South Korean President Moon Jae-in's chief of staff called for efforts to restart denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea on Monday, two days before Moon's special envoy is set to visit the communist state.
"I expect (the special envoy) to return after fixing the date for President Moon Jae-in's Pyongyang trip this fall," Im Jong-seok wrote on his Facebook page.
Moon has agreed to visit Pyongyang this month for what would be his third bilateral summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
His special envoy, Chung Eui-yong, and four other delegates, including the head of the National Intelligence Service, will travel to the North Korean capital on Wednesday for a meeting with their North Korean counterparts that is widely expected to set the date for the summit.
The scheduled trip by the South Korean officials, however, also comes amid an apparent impasse in denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea that followed a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.
Trump called off a scheduled trip to North Korea by his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, citing what he called a lack of progress in the denuclearization process.
"I wish (the envoy) will also fulfill his role as priming water to enable a North Korea visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and progress in the denuclearization talks between the North and the US," Im said.
"In the grim reality of diplomacy, realizing a historic change without the strategic patience and consent of the US is simply impossible," he added.
"That is why the Moon Jae-in government is strongly and closely communicating and cooperating with the United States to the unprecedented level."
The South Korean delegation is scheduled to return home on the same day. (Yonhap)