This latest visit to Washington by South Korea's chief nuclear envoy has many wondering if it could offer a turning point for the long-stalled six-party talks to denuclearize North Korea.
"Starting with last week's South Korea-China foreign ministers' meeting, we've been discussing the conditions to resuming denuclearization talks with countries like the U.S. and China. To that extent, we plan to hold an in-depth discussion with the U.S."
The envoy's remarks hint there may be possible progress on the North Korean nuclear issue, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's expected visit to Seoul this month.
When Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently came to Seoul, China asked South Korea to actively push for the talk resumption, to which the South expressed its will to set the pre-talk conditions.
In fact, Seoul has taken a more flexible stance on the matter as of late, recognizing there's need for a venue to discuss disarming the North, albeit under a set of conditions.
The South Korean negotiator, in Washington, said this is because the regime conducted three nuclear tests, two of which took place since the talks were suspended five years ago.
Therefore Seoul will seek to mediate between Washington and Beijing, as the U.S. insists the North take concrete steps to prove it's ready to give up its nuclear arms before dialogue can reopen.
Japan recently agreeing to lift sanctions if the North reopens a probe into the abduction of Japanese nationals is another issue of concern.
When their nuclear envoys meet Monday, Seoul and Washington are expected to agree that Tokyo should remain committed to the three parties' cooperation on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.