A senior U.S. envoy said Tuesday Washington’s North Korea policy is expected to remain consistent under a new administration. File Photo by James Mossman/USAF | License Photo
SEOUL, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The United States' North Korea policy is unlikely to change in the near future under a new administration, a senior U.S. diplomat said Tuesday.
Joseph Yun, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy, told reporters in Seoul that while North Korea could use the recent impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye as an opportunity to engage in provocative behavior, he expects President-elect Donald Trump's administration to carry out consistent policies, South Korean news service Money Today reported.
Yun had concluded a meeting with his South Korea counterpart Kim Hong-kyun and Japanese envoy Kenji Kanasugi, who were meeting for the first time since the presidential impeachment.
Yun said the United States seeks peaceful denuclearization but that at the moment there are no signals coming out of North Korea indicating a new direction.
The principle of dialogue stands but the possibility of high-level talks is low at the moment, Yun said.
North Korea has refused to cooperate with international calls for denuclearization and conducted two nuclear tests and dozens of test-launches of ballistic missiles that have sent shock waves across the region and heightened U.S. concerns.
Under Park, South Korea cooperated with Washington on the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD, and in the wake of her impeachment South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo confirmed THAAD deployment is to take place as scheduled, Yonhap reported Tuesday.
U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Vincent Brooks agreed and said that he doesn't expect any delays.
"You're [going to] see the deployment of a THAAD battery. This is an alliance decision. It will come in the next 8 to 10 months," Brooks said.
China has opposed THAAD deployment and concern over Chinese retaliation has risen among South Korean firms in China.
But Beijing may also be loosening restrictions on Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate that reached a deal with Seoul on a site for THAAD at its golf course in Seongju.
The company was previously the target of an "unusually intensive investigation" in China, but it was also granted permission to build a high-rise building in Shenyang, a northeastern Chinese city, according to Yonhap on Tuesday.
The permission came after a two-year wait, sources say.