The US special representative to North Korea will visit Seoul on December 15 amid Washinton’s warning to Pyongyang against nuclear tests. Stephen Biegun will be on a three-day visit and meet his counterpart Lee Do-hoon, said South Korea’s foreign ministry.
US State Department said that Biegen will be accompanied by Deputy Special Representative for North Korea Alex Wong and NSC Senior Director for Asian Affairs Allison Hooker on the trip. The visit becomes crucial as the deadline set by North on revitalising the nuclear talks is coming to an end and there has not been any positive response from either side. Both the United States and South Korea have been wary of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear and missile tests. The United States had warned North Korea against it at the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) on December 11.
Kelly Craft, US Representative to the United Nations, raised concerns about North’s indication of intercontinental ballistic missile tests which will bring the US in its range. Craft said that the US has sought to engage in “robust diplomacy with the DPRK”, but the signs were deeply troubling. “Let me be clear, we have not asked North Korea to do everything, before we do anything. We are prepared to be flexible, but we cannot solve this problem alone,” remarked the Ambassador after the Council meeting.
Today’s #UNSC meeting is an expression of global concern about North Korea’s missile tests. It should send a very clear signal to North Korea that the Council is unified in its vision of peace and stability in the region. pic.twitter.com/TzdMsLAW2o— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) December 11, 2019
Earlier, South Korea had decided to increase the defence budget after North Korea’s move to develop submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). On September 30, the National Assembly of Korea had adopted a resolution denouncing North Korea’s nuclear advancement and missile provocations. The resolution claimed that North Korea’s “recent military provocations” were in disregard of the international community’s expectations. It also mentioned a series of new short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) launches and development of new SLBMs.