US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun has no plans to meet with North Korean officials during his trip to Europe this week, the State Department said Tuesday.
Negotiations on North Korea's denuclearization are expected to resume in the coming days after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to continue the talks at their impromptu meeting on the inter-Korean border on June 30.
US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun (Yonhap)
"There is no plan to meet with North Korean officials on this trip," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said during a press briefing.
Biegun's trip to Belgium and Germany was planned before Trump traveled to South Korea and held the surprise meeting with Kim in the Demilitarized Zone, she said.
The spokeswoman declined to offer details on planning for the next round of negotiations, except to say that contacts and discussions between the two sides have been ongoing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told reporters earlier that he expected the talks to resume in mid-July.
Negotiations broke down after a second summit between Trump and Kim in February ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the US.
Ortagus said the Trump administration wants to see the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea and any suggestion that it could settle for a nuclear freeze is a misrepresentation.
"You know that would never be the resolution of a process, that would never be the end of a process," she said.
A nuclear freeze, as floated in The New York Times last week, is "something that we would certainly hope to see at the beginning," she said.
"But I don't think the administration has ever characterized a freeze as being the end goal. That would be at the beginning of the process," Ortagus said.
Trump's encounter with Kim in the DMZ was a meeting, not a summit or a negotiation, she added. (Yonhap)