Fri, 22 Mar 2019

WASHINGTON DC - Officials from South Korea and the United States met in Washington on Thursday and discussed ways to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, amid a layer of sanctions imposed on the communist country.

The US-South Korea working group met for the first time after the last month's meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam, which ended in a stalemate with no agreement reached.

The two sides "shared updates on efforts to achieve our shared goal of final, fully verified denuclearization, including through the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions," Yonhap News Agency quoted US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino as saying.

They also "reaffirmed their commitment to continue regularly hosting these consultations and coordinations as alliance partners," he added.

Rhee Dong-yeol, who heads the South Korean Foreign Ministry's bureau of peace in the peninsula, led the delegation, while Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, led the US side.

In New York, US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with UN Security Council members to discuss the Hanoi summit and North Korea's sanctions, Palladino said.

The working group meeting by the US and South Korea comes amid several reports surfaced by South Korea's spy agency and two American think tanks speculating that restoration work is underway at the long-range missile launch site in Dongchang-ri in North Korea.

The speculations about the North Korea's possible preparation to launch a missile or a satellite-carrying rocket have also been reported by the US media wherein they stated that there has been an increase in the activity at the missile assembly facility in Sanum-dong.

Ties between the US and North Korea hit a roadblock over the ease of sanctions, where Pyongyang sought relief in economic sanctions as recognition of the steps taken towards denuclearisation.

Washington has, until now, reinforced that relief in sanctions would only be given after the communist country carries out "complete and verifiable" denuclearisation. (ANI)

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