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Narrowing down differences between North Korea and U.S. to start in next round of working-level talks: Biegun Updated: 2019-02-13 12:31:47 KST

North Korea and the U.S. were able to set their agenda for the upcoming summit between their leaders, and the next step of their negotiations is set to start in the next working-level meeting.

This is according to U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who met with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and a delegation of South Korean lawmakers during their sit-down with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in Washington on Monday.

Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the delegates, that Biegun said Pyeongyang and Washington discussed more than 12 items for the summit agenda, during their working-level meeting last week, with both sides having the chance to fully explain what they wanted.
He added that the two sides will look to narrow their differences starting from their next round of talks.

The U.S. has been demanding that North Korea take concrete denuclearization steps, including providing an inventory of its nuclear and missile programs, while the North has been asking for sanctions relief and a declaration to end the 70-year-long Korean War.
South Korea's presidential office had said the two sides will resume their talks in a third country in Asia next week.

With only 2 weeks left until the 2nd Pyeongyang-Washington summit, the nuclear envoy said it will be difficult to resolve all the obstacles ahead. But he was hopeful in saying that it's still possible if they can agree on the timeline for denuclearization.

Biegun allegedly said his talks with his new counterpart, Kim Hyok-chol, U.S. Affairs of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, were productive and the atmosphere was good.

He then added that it's a long road to normalize ties with North Korea -- signing a peace treaty and establishing the foundation for economic prosperity on the Korean Peninsula -- but that the U.S. has chosen to work towards that, and that he hopes North Korea makes the right choice.

Biegun also reportedly stressed how the Seoul-Washington working-group has helped the situation and is maintaining the balance between fast-progressing inter-Korean exchanges and the denuclearization talks.

Meanwhile, Moon Hee-sang and the South Korean lawmakers will meet with U.S. senators before leaving Washington on Friday.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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