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Washington ready to engage as soon as N. Korea responds: U.S. envoy Updated: 2019-08-22 07:05:54 KST

Washington is prepared to start talks as soon as the North is ready.
That's according to U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, speaking to reporters Wednesday at Seoul's foreign ministry, after meeting his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon.
Biegun said he was assigned by President Trump two months ago to resume working-level negotiations with Pyeongyang after the Kim-Trump meeting at the Demilitarized Zone.
Biegun stressed that he's fully committed to this task.

"Regarding the restarting of the negotiation, we're prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea."

He then denied recent rumors that he'd be leaving his post and become U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

"I wanted to dispel any rumors that I'll be leaving this portfolio to take up an ambassadorship abroad. I will not be taking up a diplomatic posting in the Russian Federation, and I will remain focused on making progress on North Korea."

Meeting at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom in late June, Kim Jong-un and President Trump had promised to resume working-level talks in two or three weeks.
But the North did not respond to U.S. proposals, and so that didn't come true.
Soon after, Pyeongyang started condemning Seoul and Washington for holding a joint military exercise.
But with the drills having ended on Tuesday, it is possible that North Korea and the U.S. could meet soon.
Two weeks ago, Kim Jong-un wrote to President Trump that he'd like to start negotiations as soon as the drills are over.

Later on Wednesday, Biegun met with Seoul's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul as well.
He will wrap up his visit on Thursday after meeting with the deputy chief of South Korea's National Security Council, Kim Hyun-chong.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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