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Top US official on North Korea policy to visit Seoul June 19 to 23

Sung Kim, Washington’s new special representative for North Korea, is scheduled to visit South Korea this weekend and stay for several days, an official from Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Thursday.

During his Seoul visit, Kim will meet with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk, the special representative for Korean peace and security at MOFA, on June 21. This would be their first in-person meeting after Kim was appointed to the role in late May by U.S. President Joe Biden.

“The objective of Kim’s South Korea visit is to swiftly implement the agreements made between President Moon Jae-in and President Joe Biden during their ROK-U.S. summit meeting,” the South Korean foreign ministry official told reporters on Thursday.

In Kim’s last phone conversation with Noh late last month after the Moon-Biden summit, both sides vowed to cooperate to “make substantial progress in achieving complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Kim will also participate in three-way discussions between the U.S., ROK and Japan. Takehiro Funakoshi, the director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, will be in South Korea at the same time.

While some top U.S. officials tour the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas during visits to the peninsula, the South Korean MOFA official said that “no such schedule is being pursued” for Sung Kim at the moment.

A unification ministry official also added on Thursday that Sung Kim is scheduled to visit the ministry during his Seoul visit, though no further details about Kim’s itinerary were available.

Sung Kim’s predecessor during the Trump administration, Stephen Biegun, last visited South Korea in Dec. 2020. During the visit, Biegun met with top South Korean officials, such as the country’s foreign minister and unification minister, as well as South Korea’s top intelligence chief.

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