US Deputy Secy of State to visit South Korea

Stephen Biegun

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun will visit South Korea during which he will hold discussions on major issues, including the stalled nuclear dialogue with North Korea, officials said here on Monday.

The four-day trip which will begin on Tuesday is expected to be Biegun’s last visit to Seoul as the Deputy Secretary of State and Washington’s point man on North Korea before the administration of President Donald Trump ends its four-year term next month, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Confirming the visit, the State Department said that Biegun will meet top South Korean officials to discuss the alliance between the two countries and our “shared commitment to regional security, stability, and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific, and continued close coordination on North Korea”.

The Deputy Secretary of State will be accompanied by include Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, and Allison Hooker, senior director for Asian affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, diplomatic sources said.

On Wednesday, Biegun will meet First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun before holding talks with Seoul’s chief nuclear negotiator, Lee Do-hoon, to discuss the prolonged deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Unification Minister Lee In-young will also meet the top diplomat, the Ministry said without providing other specifics, including the date and time.

Biegun was appointed in August 2018 as the US Special Representative for North Korea and promoted to deputy secretary in December last year, Yonhap News Agency said in its report.

Despite the promotion, he has concurrently served as the lead interlocutor with the North.

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