The heads of intelligence agencies from South Korea, the United States, and Japan and North Korea’s chief nuclear representatives will meet this week to discuss ways to engage and cooperate with North Korea. The government plans to focus on gaining US support for the declaration of an end to the war, which was proposed by President Moon Jae-in at the UN General Assembly last month. It is noteworthy whether a breakthrough will be made to break the stalemate on the Korean Peninsula through serial consultations between South Korea and the United States.
It is reported that U.S. Director of National Intelligence Abril Haines (DNI) will visit South Korea for three days and two nights on the 17th to meet with National Intelligence Service Director Park Ji-won and Japanese Cabinet Intelligence Officer Hiroaki Takizawa. It is the first time in five months since the meeting in Tokyo, Japan in May, right after the United States finished reviewing its North Korea policy, that the heads of South Korea, the United States, and Japan intelligence agencies are gathering together. It is interpreted that the intention of the United States to strengthen trilateral cooperation in line with the inauguration of the new Japanese government and to order a joint response from China is contained.
Around the same time, in Washington, Kyu-duk Noh, Director of the Korean Peninsula Peace Relations Headquarters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sung Kim, Special Representative for North Korea at the U.S. State Department, and Takehiro Funakoshi, Director of the Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, met face-to-face in Washington. Director Roh, who headed straight for the US from Russia, will hold a meeting with the chief nuclear representatives of North Korea and the United States on the 18th, and South Korea-Japan and South Korea-US-Japan meetings on the 19th. It has been more than a month since the three country’s chief nuclear representatives held face-to-face discussions in Tokyo on the 14th of last month.
Recently, meetings between South Korea and the US diplomatic and security officials have become noticeably more frequent. On the 30th of last month, Director Roh met with Kim Sung Kim in Jakarta, Indonesia, and on the 12th, Blue House National Security Office Director Suh Hoon visited the US and held a meeting with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. In particular, on the 15th, CIA Director William Burns visited Korea and met with President Moon Jae-in. There is also speculation that a series of visits by high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials to South Korea may lead to under-the-hood discussions on the North Korean issue.
The United States is emphasizing that the proposal for dialogue with North Korea is still valid, saying, “We have made a concrete proposal to North Korea and will wait for a response” (a State Department spokesperson briefing on the 14th and 15th). The contents of the ‘specific proposal’ have not been confirmed, but it is interpreted as a principled position that North Korea’s interests such as withdrawal of hostile policies or easing of sanctions can be discussed as an extension of the ‘dialogue without preconditions’ that the US has repeatedly revealed.
There is a possibility that humanitarian aid to North Korea, which has reached the final stage of consultations between South Korea and the US, may be included. Director Roh, who arrived in Washington on the 16th (local time), met with reporters at Dulles International Airport near Washington, and said, “The humanitarian cooperation project with North Korea is also being jointly carried out by South Korea and the United States, and preparations are nearing completion.”
South Korea is concentrating its diplomatic power on convincing the United States of America the idea of an end-of-war declaration announced by President Moon at the UN General Assembly. Director Roh said, “(The declaration of the end of the war) is meaningful as an entrance to dialogue for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace. said.
However, North Korea is in the position of prioritizing ‘withdrawal of hostilities’ before cooperation with India or a declaration of an end to the war, so it is unclear whether North Korea will respond even if South Korea and the US reach a consensus. At a forum held in Tokyo on the 16th, Kim Ji-young, editor-in-chief of the Chosun Shinbo, an organ of the Federation of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) representing North Korea’s position, said, “(North Korea) adopted a declaration of an end to the war, which is nothing more than a political declaration, at a time when efforts to implement the Singapore Joint Declaration were stopped. “I decided that doing so would not help at all to stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and could be misused as a smoke screen to cover up the US hostile policy,” he said.