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US envoy for N Korea to embark on two-nation Europe visit for denuclearisation talks

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will pay a visit to Belgium and Germany early next week for negotiations with officials to revitalise the reclusive communist country's stalled denuclearisation process.

ANI | Washington DC | Updated: 07-07-2019 07:54 IST | Created: 07-07-2019 07:54 IST
US envoy for N Korea to embark on two-nation Europe visit for denuclearisation talks
US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun (File photo). Image Credit: ANI

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will pay a visit to Belgium and Germany early next week for negotiations with officials to revitalise the reclusive communist country's stalled denuclearisation process. Biegun will travel to Brussels on July 8 and 9 and Berlin on July 10 and 11 for meetings with European officials and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon to "advance the US' shared efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea," according to a statement by the State Department.

The special envoy's visit to Europe comes days after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held an impromptu meeting at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the de facto border separating North and South Korea. Scripting history, Trump had walked 20 steps into North Korea after a handshake with Kim on July 1, becoming the first sitting US President to step foot in the former enemy territory.

The two leaders agreed to resume working-level negotiations on North Korea's denuclearisation process during the meeting. Trump has also invited Kim to visit him at the White House. It is to be noted that no North Korean leader has visited the US so far.

This was the third time that the two leaders met face to face this year, with the last meeting being in May at Hanoi. Denuclearisation talks between North Korea and the US hit a roadblock after the second summit in Vietnam ended abruptly with no joint statement being released. The two sides reportedly failed to resolve their differences over sanction waiver.

The possibility of an agreement between the two countries suffered a setback after North Korea tested multiple short-range missiles in May as a sign of apparent frustration over the stalled negotiations and continuing sanctions. Pyongyang has repeatedly insisted that the removal of penalties will help spur economic growth, while Washington has reaffirmed that sanctions will not be removed till the communist country completely stopped its nuclear weapons programme. (ANI)


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