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(LEAD) U.S. intel chief meets S. Korea's top security advisor to discuss N. Korea

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS latest info in first 6 paras, photo; TRIMS)
By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines held talks with a top South Korean security official in Seoul on Monday to discuss North Korean issues as Seoul and Washington crank up diplomacy to resume dialogue with Pyongyang, sources said Monday.

Haines, who arrived in South Korea on Sunday, met with Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, over lunch at a Seoul hotel.

The two have shared their assessments of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, following Pyongyang’s recent series of missile launches, according to the sources.

Another possible item on the agenda could include South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent proposal to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, as Seoul ramps up diplomacy to revitalize its drive for lasting peace on the peninsula.

Meanwhile, it is not yet known whether a behind-the-scenes meeting among intelligence chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan, took place during the day.

Haines was widely expected to sit down for talks with Park Jie-won, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), and Hiroaki Takizawa, Japan’s Cabinet intelligence director.

The two photos show Suh Hoon (L), director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, and U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines (R) arriving at a hotel in Seoul on Oct. 18, 2021. (Yonhap)

Pyongyang has remained unresponsive to Washington’s overtures for dialogue, with denuclearization talks having stalled since the no-deal summit between then U.S. President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong-un in 2019.

Takizawa’s visit to Seoul is his first since Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office earlier this month, and the discussions could possibly signal Tokyo’s new policy direction on North Korea.

The three could also discuss ways to strengthen trilateral intelligence sharing, as the leaders of the two East Asian countries attempt to patch up rocky relations over historic disputes stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.

On Friday, Moon and Kishida held their first phone call and agreed to develop their ties “in a future-oriented manner.”

Haines, who arrived in Seoul on Sunday, will meet senior security officials here after U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns met with Moon here last week.

These file photos from May 9, 2021, show, from left to right, Avril Haines, the U.S. director of national intelligence; Park Jie-won, head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service; and Hiroaki Takizawa, Japan's cabinet intelligence director. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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