SEOUL – The United States Special Representative for North Korea on Monday met with the top security advisor to the South Korean president to prepare for a second summit between Washington and Pyongyang, set to be held later this month.
Stephen Biegun, who arrived on Sunday for a three-day visit to South Korea, met Chung Eui-yong, head of the National Security Office, a government spokesperson said in Seoul.
The US envoy is also set to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok-chol on Tuesday at the inter-Korean border in order to finalize the details of the second high-level bilateral summit.
Biegun’s meetings are expected to determine the date and venue of the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, after the White House announced two weeks ago that the meet will be held toward end February.
During their meeting in Seoul, Biegun and Chung – a key South Korean figure in the dialogue with the North – discussed the current state of negotiations with Pyongyang and tried to coordinate their positions regarding North Korea, the spokesperson said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in aims to meet Kim before the fresh Washington-Pyongyang summit, which could break a stalemate in negotiations after the first summit between Kim and Trump in June last year in Singapore, during which the two had agreed to work toward the denuclearization of North Korea in exchange for security guarantees for the North Korean regime.
The agreement was criticized as vague and experts had pointed out that the deal did not include any clear obligation by North Korea to disarm.
Negotiations over denuclearization, however, had soon ran into troubled waters with the US and North Korea trading accusations and counter-accusations over seriousness of intent.
The second summit between the two leaders is, however, expected to make way for fresh negotiations to make Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons.
According to reports in the US media, the summit is likely to be hosted in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang, situated on the coast of South China Sea.