TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

South Korea's nuclear envoy visits US as tensions flare with North Korea

  • Hyonhee Shin

    Reuters

Seoul, South Korea   /   Thu, June 18, 2020   /   12:45 pm
South Korea's nuclear envoy visits US as tensions flare with North Korea An anti-North Korea activist holds a placard featuring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a demonstration against inter-Korean talks, in Seoul on Jan. 9, 2018.South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator will hold talks with officials in Washington on Thursday amid flaring tensions with North Korea after Pyongyang blew up an inter-Korean liaison office and threatened military action. (AFP/Ed Jones)

South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator will hold talks with officials in Washington on Thursday amid flaring tensions with North Korea after Pyongyang blew up an inter-Korean liaison office and threatened military action.

Lee Do-hoon's unannounced trip came days after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office in Kaesong, near the South Korean border and declared an end to dialogue with the South.

Lee is expected to hold consultations with US officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun who had led denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Lee and Biegun will "assess the current situation on the Korean peninsula and discuss responses," the ministry said in a statement.

South Korean television showed Lee arriving at Washington's Dulles International Airport on Wednesday evening, where he declined to comment to reporters.

Pyongyang has increasingly snubbed Seoul's calls for engagement as efforts to restart inter-Korean economic projects stalled due to international sanctions designed to rein in the North's nuclear and missile programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, on Wednesday criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for failing to implement a 2018 peace accord, saying Moon "put his neck into the noose of pro-US flunkeyism."

Pyongyang has also taken issue over defectors in the South sending propaganda leaflets into North Korea.

Several defector-led groups regularly send back flyers carrying critical messages of Kim Jong Un, often together with food, $1 bills, mini radios and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and news.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said the demolition of the liaison office was the "first stage action" in its "holy war" aimed at punishing Seoul authorities for turning a blind eye to the defector's campaign.

"It was an iron hammer of stern punishment meted out to those who were having empty dreams while pursuing concealed hostile policy," it said in a commentary.

The newspaper also ran a series of articles and photos carrying angry ordinary citizens calling for retaliation and vowing to send anti-South leaflets over the border