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19th of January 2018

International



Report: U.S. envoy did not meet N. Korean official

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- An anticipated meeting between a U.S. envoy and North Korean officials did not take place, according to media reports on Wednesday.

A government source told Yonhap News that Washington's Senior Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun did not have a significant encounter with Pyongyang officials during his trip to Thailand.

Last week, Yun attended the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific in Bangkok where officials and scholars from the region, including the two Koreas, discussed political and security issues.

There had been speculation that the American envoy would hold one-on-one talks with the North Korean delegation, prior to his departure.

However, Yun "did not approach the North Korean side in Thailand," according to the government source who said this was believed to be "due to the atmosphere in Washington."

Yun has previously supported the idea of initiating dialogue with the North, backing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's initial offer to hold talks "without preconditions."

"I think what Secretary Tillerson spoke to was we want to have a dialogue with them. We are open to dialogue and we hope they will agree to have a dialogue," he told reporters in Bangkok.

Experts say it's unlikely there will be dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang for the time being, as both sides have presented certain conditions for the talks.

"The U.S. maintains that dialogue is possible on the premise of denuclearization and it seems their differences haven't been narrowing so it seems their standoff will continue until the PyeongChang Olympics, at least," Kim Hyun Wook, Professor of Korea National Diplomatic Academy said.

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