S. Korea, U.S. agree to closely coordinate on inter-Korean projects: Seoul envoy
Updated: 2020-01-17 16:34:34 KST
South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to negotiate possible inter-Korean cooperation projects.
That's according to Seoul's top nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon following talks with his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun in Washington on Thursday.
He said now is just the start of the process.
Lee said he explained Seoul's position, and that the two sides will continue to work together based on mutual respect.
"The U.S. has always expressed its respect for the decisions South Korea makes as a sovereign nation. I believe it's important that Seoul and Washington work hard together and coordinate with each other as allies on the basis of respect."
South Korea has been looking to get inter-Korean relations back on track through joint projects amid the nuclear standoff between Pyeongyang and Washington.
Earlier this week, President Moon Jae-in said that individual tours do not violate UN sanctions and that it could help bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.
But Lee noted that there could be minor issues in terms of what tourists can bring to the North.
His remarks come after U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said that Seoul should discuss plans to engage North Korea with Washington to avoid any misunderstanding that could trigger sanctions.
He recommended that the matter be run through a working group set up in 2018 to coordinate over North Korea-related issues.
To this, Lee said that the two sides have been closely coordinating and that consultations can take place in any form.
"We can talk over the phone, we can meet and also hold working group discussions depending on the situation at the time. One thing for sure is that the working group has been very effective until now."
Lee added that Seoul will seek to avoid any misunderstandings regarding the issue of sanctions.
The nuclear envoy, however, declined to comment when asked whether specific projects had been up for discussion, saying it's too early to talk about that.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.