U.S. envoy visits Seoul for ongoing talks over North

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U.S. envoy visits Seoul for ongoing talks over North

The stream of exchanges between top envoys on North Korea from Seoul, Washington and Beijing continues as U.S. special representative on North Korea policy Glyn Davies returned to Seoul yesterday for talks today with his Korean counterpart Lim Sung-nam to discuss the possibility of drawing Pyongyang back to the dialogue table.

Davies and Lim are expected to follow up on policies exchanged in the U.S.-Korea summit last week and further analyze the North Korea situation, said officials of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They are also expected to discuss the specifics on how to pursue the two-track policy of responding firmly to provocations by North Korea, who is pursuing both economic growth and nuclear weapons, while easing the way for dialogue.

At the South Korea-U.S. summit last week in Washington, President Park Geun-hye, who was accompanied by top nuclear envoy Lim, conveyed to U.S. President Barack Obama her two-track policy of strong retaliation against North Korean provocations while leaving the door to dialogue open as a part of a trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula.

Davies emphasized that the precursor to dialogue is for North Korea to follow international agreements and denuclearize as he spoke at the Japan Society in New York on Thursday, ahead of his weeklong Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo tour.

He said that his Northeast Asia trip will aim to keep countries committed to sending a message to North Korea to end its boycott of the six-party talks between the two Koreas, U.S., Japan, China and Russia.

“We are in a pressure phase,” Davies said, in the United States’ two-track policy of pressuring and re-engagement of Pyongyang, adding that the U.S. is “trying to close off avenues to [North Korea] other than a diplomatic way forward.”

“Without sustained improvement in inter-Korean relations, U.S.-DPRK ties cannot fundamentally improve,” Davies stated. “Pyongyang must understand this, and this is a point I have made directly to North Korean negotiators.”

There have been near-weekly exchanges between Beijing, Seoul and Washington since late March in light of Pyongyang’s provocations, which included a Northeast Asia tour by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last month.

Davies will also meet with Vice Minister of Unification Kim Nam-sik in Seoul and tomorrow heads to Beijing to speak with Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei, who visited Washington for two days in April 22, to confirm Beijing is on the same page.

“China is beginning to take steps that were unimaginable 12 months ago to signal to North Korea its displeasure,” Davies said in the same panel.

Davies said he told Wu in their two-day talks to examine the example and lessons of Myanmar, “And how quickly the United States can react in a positive fashion if you [China] and North Korea make a decision to go in a different direction.”

The U.S. Department of State said that after Beijing, Davies will head to Tokyo to meet with Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobukatsu Kanehara and Director General for Asian and Oceanic Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyama.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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