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Special US envoy for N. Korea to visit Seoul this week

Sung Kim, US special envoy for North Korea (Yonhap)
Sung Kim, US special envoy for North Korea (Yonhap)

WASHINGTON -- Special US envoy for North Korea Sung Kim will visit South Korea this week for talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on ways to deal with Pyongyang's recent missile launches and also help the impoverished country deal with COVID-19, the state department said Wednesday.

Kim will make a three-day visit to Seoul from Thursday for talks with South Korea's Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshi of Japan, according to the department.

"Together they will discuss a broad range of issues including the international community's response to the DPRK's recent intercontinental ballistic missile launches and the COVID-19 outbreak in the DPRK," it said in a press release, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Special Representative Sung Kim will also reiterate the US commitment to seeking dialogue with the DPRK, while also continuing work with the international community to address the DPRK's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," it added.

Kim's trip comes a week after the UN Security Council failed to pass a US-proposed resolution that sought to impose fresh UN sanctions on Pyongyang for its recent missile tests.

North Korea has staged 17 rounds of missile launches this year.

China and Russia, both veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, blocked the resolution, insisting the US should seek to engage with North Korea instead.

The US has consistently offered to meet North Korea without preconditions. Pyongyang remains unresponsive to US overtures.

"Special Representative Sung Kim's travel to Seoul underscores the importance of ongoing close US collaboration with the ROK and Japan on DPRK issues as we seek to advance complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," said the state department.

ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name. (Yonhap)

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