Senior U.S. and South Korean diplomats discussed how to restart stalled talks with North Korea on Thursday, days after the North conducted artillery firing drills in its latest weapons tests.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink was in Seoul for talks on security issues, including North Korea, economic cooperation and other matters.
Kritenbrink and his South Korean counterpart Yeo Seung-bae agreed on the importance of pursuing stability on the Korean Peninsula. The two discussed ways to resume the talks with North Korea as quickly as possible, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul tweeted that the two spoke about “how our Alliance can continue to promote the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific & beyond.”
Since September, North Korea has conducted a spate of missile and other weapons tests, including the artillery drills last Saturday. Some experts say North Korea aims to pressure the U.S. and South Korea to recognize it as a nuclear state in the hope they will work to ease international sanctions on the North. Nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang remains largely stalled since early 2019.
Kritenbrink separately met with other South Korean officials and discussed economic relationships and partnerships on critical and emerging technologies, according to the U.S. Embassy. He also met South Korea’s ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung on Thursday.