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Japan, US, S. Korea officials to meet over N. Korea issues

Sung Kim. (Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Japan, the United States and South Korea are planning to hold a meeting of senior officials later this month to discuss issues concerning North Korea, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

    Sung Kim, who was named U.S. special envoy for North Korea last month, is expected to attend the meeting to be held in South Korea, the source said, adding that the focus will be on whether he will attempt to make contact with the North Korean side in Panmunjeom, a village inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, during his trip.

    Kim has long been involved in negotiations with North Korea, including preparations for the 2018 summit between former U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

    The administration of President Joe Biden is calling for a dialogue with North Korea toward the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    Sung Kim, who doubles as ambassador to Indonesia, is scheduled to visit South Korea from Saturday through June 24, the source said.

    During the trip, he is planning to hold a trilateral meeting with Takehiro Funakoshi, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Noh Kyu Duk, the South Korean Foreign Ministry's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs.

    The Biden administration has reviewed U.S. policy toward North Korea and set what it calls "calibrated and practical" diplomacy aimed at increasing the security of the United States and its allies.

    At his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In in May, Biden signaled that his policy would build on the 2018 agreement between Trump and Kim Jong Un, focusing on the denuclearization goal as well as improving relations between the United States and North Korea.

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