The United States has no hostile intentions toward Pyongyang and is open to meeting anytime, anywhere. Washington’s special envoy for North Korea said on Monday during a visit to South Korea. Sung Kim arrived in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day visit.
In July, the visit comes as a brief thaw in inter-Korean relations gave way to a new showdown over military exercises between the United States and South Korea that North Korea warned could trigger a security crisis.
“The United States has no hostile intentions towards (North Korea),” Kim told reporters after meeting his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk.
“The ongoing combined (US-South Korea) military exercises are long-standing, routine and purely defensive in nature and support the security of our two countries.”
Noh said the couple discussed possible humanitarian aid to North Korea and ways to restart the stalled denuclearization talks.
“We agreed to work together to resume dialogue with North Korea as soon as possible,” he said.
On Sunday, Kim met with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-Yong at the minister’s residence. A foreign ministry official said they discussed ways to resume the Korean peninsula’s peace process quickly.
The US envoy is expected to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on Tuesday in Seoul.
The nine-day joint military exercise began on Aug. 16, with North Korea’s state media so far silent despite fears that the country may conduct a missile test or take other actions to underscore its disapproval.
North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy. Still, US proposals appear hollow as “hostile acts” such as drills continue.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it would explore diplomacy to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea but showed no willingness to ease sanctions.
Kim said that the United States supports efforts to improve ties between the two Koreas and remains open to direct talks with North Korea.
“I remain ready to meet my North Korean counterparts anywhere and anytime,” he said.