By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States are working closely together to restart the Korean Peninsula peace process, South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Lee Soo-hyuck, said Wednesday.
Lee said the countries are also discussing ways to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table that may include the provision of humanitarian assistance to the impoverished North.
“(We) are discussing various ways to build trust such as the provision of humanitarian assistance to create a favorable condition for talks with North Korea,” the South Korean diplomat said in a parliamentary audit.
“South Korea and the United States are also closely discussing ways to restart the peace process for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of peace,” he added.
The U.S. has said it supports providing humanitarian assistance to the people of North Korea regardless of any progress in denuclearization talks with the North.
Pyongyang has stayed away from denuclearization talks with the U.S. since early 2019. It also remains unresponsive to U.S. overtures made since the Joe Biden administration took office in January.
The top national security advisers of South Korea and the U.S. earlier said their countries will continue to seek engagement with North Korea.
“The U.S. side reaffirmed the U.S.’ sincerity that it holds no hostile policy toward North Korea and also reiterated its stance that it will engage in negotiations with North Korea anytime, anywhere without preconditions. The two sides agreed to continue working closely on concrete ways to engage with North Korea,” South Korea’s National Security Council said of a meeting between South Korean National Security Adviser Suh Hoon and his U.S. counterpart, Jake Sullivan, held in Washington on Tuesday.