Seoul-Washington push ‘FFVD’ on NK
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo agreed to hold close consultations on realizing the goal of North Korea’s denuclearization, in a meeting in Washington, Thursday (local time).
The U.S. Department of State said the ministers “pledged to maintain close coordination to ensure the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD) of North Korea” in a press release.
The foreign ministry said the ministers shared their views on the denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and progress in inter-Korean relations, while affirming the importance of sticking to sanctions on the North.
While Pyongyang has called for sanctions to be eased as a corresponding measure for taking steps to abandon its nuclear program, President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump affirmed at their meeting held on the sidelines of the G20 summit last week that sanctions would remain intact until the North achieved complete denuclearization.
Kang and Pompeo are likely to have discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s possible visit to Seoul this month, as well as plans for a second summit between Kim and Trump.
The foreign minister was in Washington to attend the funeral of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.
It was Kang and Pompeo’s first meeting in two months after one in October that took place when Pompeo visited Seoul after a high-level meeting in Pyongyang.
According to the ministry, the meeting also touched upon the ongoing bilateral talks on the Special Measures Agreement, which covers how much of the costs of stationing U.S. troops here Seoul and Washington bear.
Meanwhile, South Korea and the U.S. also held a video conference meeting between officials of its working group covering North Korea, Friday.
The working group led by Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, and his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun, was launched last month for closer consultations on inter-Korean relations and North Korea’s denuclearization process.
Officials earlier agreed to hold meetings twice a month. After their first last month, they held their first video conference.
This was a working-level meeting, in which Lee and Biegun did not take part. Officials of the defense and unification ministries as well as Cheong Wa Dae were present, the ministry said.
The meeting addressed pending issues including inter-Korean cooperation as well as North Korea’s denuclearization, according to the ministry. Lee and Biegun are expected to meet again this month. Pyongyang’s denuclearization process remains in a stalemate, with high-level talks that were postponed in November still to be held.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha shakes hands with her U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo at the Department of State in Washington, Thursday (local time).