Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, held talks with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas over the weekend, a State Department official confirmed Monday.
The meeting appears to be the first face-to-face contact between U.S. officials and their North Korean counterparts since President Donald Trump met with leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore.
Sung Kim, formerly an ambassador to South Korea and a nuclear negotiator with the North during previous talks, has taken on a key role in dialogue with Pyongyang in recent months. In late May, the envoy led a meeting between U.S. officials and North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone ahead of the Singapore summit.
A State Department spokesperson said that Kim had led a delegation that met with North Korean counterparts in the village of Panmunjom on Sunday, where they discussed the next steps toward implementing the joint declaration signed by Trump and Kim Jong Un last month.
“Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the spokesperson said, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that U.S. intelligence officials had evidence showing that North Korea does not intend to give up its entire nuclear stockpile, despite Trump’s claim that there is “no longer a nuclear threat” from the country after the Singapore summit.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with North Korean officials soon to continue negotiations. Pompeo, who has taken a leading role in negotiations with the North Korean leader, has said it may take years to implement an agreement that would eliminate the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Adam Taylor