Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to the US mention of North Korea’s ‘intermediate stage of denuclearization’, “the same purpose as a bold plan”

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Lim Soo-seok, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs./News1 ⓒ News1

Regarding the statement by a senior official in the US administration of Joe Biden that he is willing to discuss ‘interim steps’ in denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement with the same effect as the ‘bold plan’ of the Yoon Seok-yeol administration’s North Korea policy. He said.

In response to a related question at a regular briefing on the 5th, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lim Soo-seok said, “The complete denuclearization of North Korea is a common goal of the governments of South Korea and the United States,” and added, “If the North Korean regime’s will to completely abolish its nuclear program is confirmed, it is natural that measures to implement this will be taken step by step.” “You can,” he said.

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Previously, Mira Rapp and Hooper, senior advisors for East Asia and Oceania at the White House National Security Council (NSC), said in a special conversation at the JoongAng Ilbo-CSIS Forum 2024 on the 4th, “The goal of the United States is the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” “But we are willing to consider intermediate steps toward denuclearization if it can make regions around the world safer.”

This is the first time that a Biden administration official has mentioned an ‘intermediate stage’.

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Victor Cha, Senior Vice Director and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Mira Rapp-Hooper, Senior Advisor for East Asia and Oceania at the White House National Security Council (NSC). (Screen capture from CSIS website)Victor Cha, Senior Vice Director and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Mira Rapp-Hooper, Senior Advisor for East Asia and Oceania at the White House National Security Council (NSC). (Screen capture from CSIS website)

Senior advisor Rapp-Hooper also said, “Considering the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, we are ready to discuss ‘threat reduction’ with North Korea and would like to do so,” adding that the ‘intermediate phase’ is related to ‘threat reduction’ such as disarmament. There was also the possibility that it was possible.

However, the consensus within and outside of diplomacy is that this is the first time a current U.S. official has used the expression ‘intermediate stage’, but that it does not mean a change in the Biden administration’s policy.

This is because the Biden administration’s policy toward North Korea is aimed at seeking diplomatic space through a ‘well-coordinated pragmatic approach’ and a step-by-step approach.

An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also met with reporters that day and said, “Although it was expressed as an intermediate measure (step), the (Biden administration’s) direction to pursue negotiations with North Korea in stages has already been made public several times.”

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet communicated specifically with the Biden administration regarding the ‘intermediate stage’ expression.

An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this fact and explained, “South Korea and the United States are in close communication not only regarding North Korean issues but also Korean Peninsula issues.”

Source: Donga

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