US, South Korean diplomats meet ahead of Trump-Kim summit

National/World
South Korea United States North Korea_1549204625068

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, center, is questioned by reporters upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. Biegun will meet with South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Senior U.S. and South Korean officials met Sunday to discuss an expected second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in South Korea earlier Sunday amid reports that he’ll meet North Korean officials soon to work out details for the summit. Trump said last Thursday that he’ll announce this week the site and date for his meeting with Kim, expected around the end of February.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Biegun and his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon held consultations about working-level U.S.-North Korea talks ahead of the summit.

South Korean media reported Biegun and his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol will likely meet at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom or in the North’s capital of Pyongyang early this week.

Little progress has been made toward ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons since Trump and Kim held their first summit in Singapore last June. During that summit, Kim pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, though he didn’t provide a timetable or roadmap for his disarmament steps.

Last year, North Korea suspended nuclear and missile tests, dismantled its nuclear test site and parts of its rocket launch facility and released American detainees. The North demanded the United States to take corresponding measurers such as sanctions relief.

U.S. officials have said sanctions will stay in place until North Korea denuclearizes.

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