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S. Korean, U.S., Japanese intelligence chiefs to discuss N. Korea in Seoul: source

By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — The intelligence chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet in Seoul on Monday behind closed doors for talks on North Korea and other pending issues, according to a source.

Park Jie-won, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), was set to sit down for talks with Avril Haines, the U.S. director of national intelligence, and Hiroaki Takizawa, Japan’s Cabinet intelligence director, the source said.

The three will meet for the first time since May in Tokyo and are expected to share the assessments of the security situations on the Korean Peninsula, following Pyongyang’s recent series of missile launches.

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.

The top spy agency officials may also touch on 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.

The chief nuclear envoys of the three regional powers are scheduled to meet in Washington on Tuesday (local time).

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 talks could also consider 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 her counterparts 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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