US, South Korea envoys discuss jump-starting talks with North Korea

US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim will meet his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk on Aug 23. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - The United States special envoy for North Korea was due to meet his South Korean counterpart on Monday (Aug 23), as the two allies look for ways to entice Pyongyang back to talks on its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Mr Sung Kim arrived in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day visit. He met South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong at the latter's residence on Sunday, where they discussed ways for a speedy resumption of the peace process on the Korean peninsula, said a Foreign Ministry official.

Mr Kim is set to meet his South Korean counterpart, Mr Noh Kyu-duk, on Monday and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in Seoul on Tuesday.

The visit comes as a brief thaw in inter-Korea relations in July gave way to a new stand-off over US-South Korean military exercises that North Korea has warned could trigger a security crisis.

The nine-day drill began on Aug 16, with silence so far from North Korea's state media despite fears that the country could conduct a missile test or take other actions to underscore its disapproval.

North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that the American overtures appear hollow while "hostile acts" such as the drills continue.

US President Joe Biden's administration has said it will explore diplomacy to achieve North Korean denuclearisation, but shown no willingness to ease sanctions.

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