Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Friday he expects a series of summit meetings taking place in the region to serve as an opportunity to advance the stalled nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States.
Kim made the remark during a meeting with lawmakers in Seoul, saying that eyes are on the results of this week's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping as their previous meetings have played "meaningful roles" every time the negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang hit a wall.
Xi was set to return home Friday after a two-day state visit to North Korea, which marked the first time for a Chinese head of state to visit the North in 14 years.
During their summit on Thursday, Xi vowed to play a "positive and constructive" role in realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, according to Chinese state media.
Xi is also planning to meet with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Japan's Osaka next week, and Trump is scheduled to visit Seoul at the end of the month for talks with President Moon Jae-in.
The minister said these meetings will be a "crucial process in making necessary conditions to resume the negotiations," which have made little headway since the February collapse of the second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi.
"The government will use this opportunity to further boost communications with our neighboring countries, including the US and China, and try hard with patience to make sure the peninsula's denuclearization and peace process can move forward again," the minister said. (Yonhap)