SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on diplomatic meetings between the United States, South Korea and Japan over the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program (all times local):
South Korea says the top nuclear envoys from Washington, Seoul and Tokyo agreed that the allies must pursue every available avenue including dialogue and sanctions to peacefully achieve a “complete” denuclearization of North Korea.
The Seoul meeting on Wednesday between the countries’ chief negotiators for the currently stalled nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea took place shortly after U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts across town to discuss responses to North Korea’s nuclear activities.
U.S. envoy for North Korea policy Joseph Yun said ahead of his meeting with the South Korean and Japanese envoys that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have created a “very serious situation” that called for high-level engagement between the allies.
The so-called six-party talks that also involved China and Russia were last held in late 2008 and North Korea went on to conduct its second nuclear test in May 2009.
Senior officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan say the allies remain committed to finding diplomatic solutions to the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, but will also prepare for any kind of contingency as they view the government in Pyongyang as unpredictable.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said after a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul on Wednesday that Washington continues to view diplomacy as the primary means for solving the North Korean nuclear problem, but also stressed that the allies must be prepared for “any eventuality.”
The Seoul talks come as the United States and South Korea hold joint naval drills to train for potential North Korean provocations.