Summary of external news of North Korea this week

SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) — The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Blinken stresses need to work together on N. Korea in call with Chinese counterpart

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Yonhap) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need for his country and China to work together to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in his rare conversation with Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, on Friday.

Blinken and Yang also discussed the outcome of the United States’ recently concluded North Korea policy review in their telephone conversation, according to the State Department.

“Secretary Blinken and Director Yang discussed the United States’ comprehensive DPRK policy review, focusing on the need for the United States and the PRC to work together for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” it said in a press release.

S. Korea’s first Vatican Prefect You Heung-sik vows efforts for Pope’s N. Korea visit

SEJONG, June 12 (Yonhap) — Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, who was named as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy of the Holy See, said Saturday that he will make efforts to arrange a visit to North Korea by Pope Francis if he is given a role to do so.

On the previous day, Pope Francis appointed You, bishop of Daejeon, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and promoted him to archbishop.

The 69-year old Catholic priest became the first South Korean to be appointed to a secretary position in the Holy See.

Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm peninsula denuke goal, cooperation on vaccines, Myanmar

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) — The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States have reaffirmed the goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and agreed to deepen cooperation on vaccine distribution and Myanmar, the foreign ministry said Sunday.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, held talks on the margins of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Britain on Saturday to discuss an array of issues, including follow-up measures to last month’ summit between Presidents Moon Jae-in and Joe Biden.

“The minister and secretary agreed to flesh out the outcome of the summit by faithfully implementing follow-up measures in various areas, including vaccines, cutting-edge technologies, supply chains and atomic energy,” the ministry said in a press release.

G-7 calls for ‘complete’ denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Yonhap) — The Group of Seven (G-7) nations on Sunday issued a joint statement calling for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while welcoming Washington’s commitment under President Joe Biden to engage with Pyongyang through diplomacy.

In a joint communique adopted at this year’s G-7 summit in the southwestern British county of Cornwall, the countries called for the complete denuclearization of the peninsula and demanded for the “verifiable and irreversible” abandonment of Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The G-7 nations also announced that they “welcome the readiness” of Washington “to continue its diplomatic efforts in coordination with all relevant partners” towards Pyongyang.

NATO leaders call on N. Korea to engage in dialogue with U.S.

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Yonhap) — The United States and 29 other member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) urged North Korea on Monday to engage in “meaningful” dialogue with the U.S. toward complete denuclearization.

The leaders of the 30 NATO countries also called on North Korea to fully implement its international obligations while also calling on others to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) on North Korea.

“We reiterate the Alliance’s full support to the goal of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea, in accordance with relevant UNSCRs. We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to engage in meaningful negotiations with the United States towards achieving this goal,” they said in a joint communique, referring to North Korea by its official name.

U.S. supports provision of COVID-19 vaccine to N. Korea

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Yonhap) — The United States has no immediate plan to directly provide COVID-19 vaccine to North Korea but supports international efforts to assist the impoverished country cope with the pandemic, the State Department said Monday.

“While we have no plans to provide vaccines to the DPRK, we continue to support international efforts aimed at the provision of critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable North Koreans,” a department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be identified.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

Both sanctions and diplomacy critical to denuclearizing N. Korea: Kritenbrink

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Yonhap) — Strict and continued enforcement of sanctions on North Korea while also seeking to engage with the reclusive state diplomatically are important to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the nominee for U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs said Tuesday.

Daniel Kritenbrink also said he would try to find ways to further strengthen sanctions on the North if confirmed.

“As I noted at the outset, the Biden-Harris administration is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And, if confirmed, I would support an approach that relies both on sanctions enforcement and deterrence, as well as a practical calibrated approach, open to diplomacy,” he said in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

New U.S. special envoy for N.K. to visit S. Korea later this week: official

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) — The new U.S. special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, is expected to visit Seoul later this week for talks not only with his South Korean counterpart, but also for a trilateral session involving the Japanese nuclear envoy, a foreign ministry official said Tuesday.

Kim is expected to arrive on Saturday for a five-day visit, the official said. It will mark his first visit to South Korea since taking over as Washington’s chief nuclear envoy. President Joe Biden announced Kim’s appointment after summit talks with President Moon Jae-in last month.

“We’re fine-tuning the schedule of U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim visiting from June 19-23,” the official said. “The purpose of the visit is aimed at swiftly carrying out the agreement reached between President Moon and President Biden.”