N.Korea Rejects Dialogue as U.S. Envoy Visits Seoul

  • By Cho Yi-jun, Roh Suk-jo

    July 08, 2020 12:46

    North Korea furiously rejected any talks with the U.S. again on Tuesday as Washington’s North Korea point man Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul.

    It was Biegun's first visit in the seven months since he went home empty-handed after proposing talks to Pyongyang late last year.

    In a statement Tuesday morning, Kwon Jong-gun, the chief of American affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said, "Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with U.S."

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun arrives at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    He also laughed out of court President Moon Jae-in's recent vows to broker a fresh U.S.-North Korea summit before the U.S. presidential election in November, dismissing them as an "attempt to blow another person's nose while failing to blow his own," "really ridiculous," and "meddlesome."

    Kwon's statement came after North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said last Saturday, "We don't feel any need to sit face-to-face with the U.S."

    Biegun arrived by military aircraft at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday afternoon. He and accompanying officials were tested for coronavirus at the air base, according to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. All tested negative.

    On Wednesday morning, Biegun then met with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young, and Lee Do-hoon, Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator. They talked about denuclearization of the North and a Seoul-Washington tug-of-war over the costs for the upkeep of American troops here.

    Biegun is expected to issue a message to Pyongyang at a press conference after meeting new national security adviser Suh Hoon. He leaves for Tokyo on Thursday.

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