Japan, U.S., ROK diplomats to discuss North Korea

KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the opening of the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang in this undated photo released on Wednesday.

SEOUL — Working-level officials from Japan, the United States and South Korea will meet in Seoul around Monday to discuss issues related to North Korea, sources have told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

This will be the first three-way, in-person meeting among officials dealing with North Korea since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.

The Seoul meeting will be attended by Sung Kim, U.S. acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs; Takehiro Funakoshi, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau; and Noh Kyu-duk, the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs.

North Korea is not currently holding talks with any of the three countries. The officials are expected to discuss how to encourage Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table, according to the sources.

In a teleconference on Feb. 19, the three officials confirmed that their countries would work together toward denuclearizing North Korea.

Funakoshi will also meet with Lee Sangryol, director general of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau at the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry, to discuss the issue of so-called comfort women, as well as South Korean court rulings on former requisitioned workers from the peninsula, according to the sources.