U.S., DPRK to hold second set of talks before Trump-Kim summit
Updated 22:21, 10-Feb-2019
CGTN
00:27

The United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will hold their second set of talks in preparation for the second summit between the leaders of the two countries, sometime "in the week beginning February 17 in a third nation in Asia," Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday citing the Republic of Korea (ROK) president's office.

The announcement came after U.S. envoy Stephen Biegun's visit to Pyongyang, where Biegun met his DPRK counterpart Kim Hyok Chol, a former ambassador to Spain, with the aim of pushing for the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula that their leaders agreed to in their historic first summit in Singapore in July.

According to Yonhap, ROK President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump also plan to hold discussions soon over the phone about Trump's upcoming meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

On Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he will meet DPRK's leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, from February 27 to 28

Biegun, U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK, told reporters that his meeting this week in Pyongyang was "productive" after arriving in Washington on Saturday.

"I am confident that [if] both sides stay committed, that we can make real progress," he said without giving more details.

Read more:

From taunts to talks: How Trump and Kim's relationship has evolved

The DPRK and the U.S. have been divided on the process of denuclearization since the meeting. Pyongyang has demanded that Washington ease its sanctions as a reward for steps taken on demolishing its nuclear and missile weapons sites, while Washington insists that no sanctions can be relaxed until a "final, fully" verified denuclearization has occurred.

U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Stephen Biegun departs for Pyongyang from the U.S. Osan air base near Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, ROK, February 6, 2019. /VCG Photo 

U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Stephen Biegun departs for Pyongyang from the U.S. Osan air base near Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, ROK, February 6, 2019. /VCG Photo 

Meanwhile, Seoul said ROK President Moon Jae-in will hold discussions with President Trump, without giving more details.

Biegun made a stop in Seoul after wrapping up his visit to Pyongyang on Friday. He briefed officials from Seoul and Tokyo on the details of the trip.

Biegun cast the Pyongyang trip as "productive" when meeting his ROK counterpart Lee Do-hoon.

The U.S. envoy also spoke to Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. Yonhap cited him saying that there will be "some hard work" to do with the DPRK before the February meeting but did not elaborate.

"We don't know where it is going to go, but we are in the midst of a conversation with the North," he told Kang.

But Kang expressed optimism. She said Biegun's visit to Pyongyang was "long and momentous." She also called on the U.S. side to further deepen cooperation in advancing the agenda of lasting peace on the peninsula by "developing inter-Korean relations and U.S.-North Korea (DPRK) relations in a virtuous cycle."

U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Stephen Biegun departs for the United States at Incheon International Airport, on Feb. 10, 2019. /Yonhap Photo

U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Stephen Biegun departs for the United States at Incheon International Airport, on Feb. 10, 2019. /Yonhap Photo

During talks with his DPRK counterpart in Pyongyang, Biegun said the two sides also discussed logistics and agenda items for the upcoming summit.

Yonhap said the second preparation meeting is likely to take place in Pyongyang, Washington, Hanoi or the inter-Korean border. 

(Cover: U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Stephen Biegun speaks during a meeting with his ROK counterpart Lee Do-hoon at ROK's Foreign Ministry, Seoul, February 9, 2019. /Yonhap Photo)