South Korean officials reportedly said Sunday that the U.S. is working "very actively" to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table ahead of a year-end deadline for flexibility from the Trump administration on denuclearization.
The South is taking the North Korean deadline “very seriously,” South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong said, according to Reuters.
South Korea, Chung said, has also developed a serious of contingencies for a scenario in which the deadline passes with no progress, according to Reuters.
“Only if talks between high-rank officials happen and lead to substantial progress, will the third North Korea-United States summit be possible,” he added at a press conference marking the midpoint of President Moon Jae-in’s term.
“As you know, the North side has shown the year-end deadline, considering that position of the North Korean side, we are closely coordinating with the U.S. side,” he said.
In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korean showcases shirtless soldiers lying on broken glass, smashing bricks on head North Korea's Kim rips US, promises 'invincible' military North Korea's Kim notes 'grim' economy while marking anniversary of ruling party MORE imposed a year-end deadline for the U.S. to demonstrate increased flexibility on the denuclearization experts, but talks have stalled between the two nations for months.
The stalled negotiations are also straining ties between the North and the South, with Kim recently ordering the removal of the “capitalist” facilities built by South Korea in Mount Kumgang, a North Korean resort, and has rejected a proposal of negotiations from the South and said it will limit communications to document exchanges, according to the news service.
The tension comes amid similar strained relations between South Korea and Japan, with South Korea’s government deciding not to renew an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the Japanese after Japan imposed export limits on high-tech materials exported to South Korea, Reuters notes.