U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in South Korea this afternoon ahead of a three-day trip.
He will be speaking with South Korea's top diplomats on strengthening bilateral relations and also with South Korea's nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, for coordination on North Korea.
There is also the possibility that Biegun will throw a surprise message toward the regime.
But the North is unlikely to respond positively and has taken a firm stance that it will not be sitting down for talks with the U.S.
For an in-depth look into denuclearization diplomacy, we have international politics professor Park Won-gon from Handong Global University joining us in the studio.
Welcome to our program.
Great to be here.
It's been just three weeks since South Korea's top nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon visited Washington and met with Stephen Biegun. Now, Biegun is here in South Korea for consultations on North Korea once again. What do you think these frequent meetings between Seoul and Washington point to?
On the very day of Biegun's arrival, North Korea issued another statement this morning and said that it has no plans to sit down for talks with the U.S. This is only three days after the North's Vice FM issued a similar statement. What do you make of these responses from Pyeongyang, and why is North Korea maintaining its firm stance that it won't talk with the U.S.? Should we take these statements at face value?
Now, last December, Biegun, while doing a doorstep interview with reporters, suddenly had a message for Pyeongyang. He said "we are here and you know how to contact us." We are not sure if a proposal for talks will be made this time, but it's still highly likely that Washington will make some sort of a goodwill gesture to the North. What's your view?
All of this, we have to remember, is happening after the North blew up the joint liaison office and threatened further military actions, which were then suspended by Kim Jong-un. But, even with the North saying it doesn't want to talk with the U.S., Seoul and Washington are moving to shake things up. Considering what has transpired, what do you think the North's initial objective was?
North Korea should be keeping its eyes fixed on the upcoming U.S. presidential election because the outcome could determine whether or not these denuclearization talks will continue. From North Korea's point of view, considering its own interests, what would be the best scenario?
Recently, there have been comments from North Korea watchers as well as from former National Security Advisor John Bolton that there may be an "October surprise." That is, Trump may work to sit with Kim Jong-un for talks right before the presidential election. What is your view on this?
North Korea is not actually the sole reason why Biegun came here, though. The Deputy Secretary of State will also be meeting with Seoul's First Vice Foreign Minister for strategic dialogue, which may cover expanding the G7 and the U.S. initiative to establish an Economic Prosperity Network. What would the U.S. have to say on these matters?
After the three-day trip to South Korea, Stephen Biegun will be hopping over to Tokyo. What will Biegun be discussing with officials in Japan?
Thank you for your comments today, we really appreciate it.