Lee Do-hoon (R), South Korea's lead negotiator on the North Korean nuclear issue, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart, Kong Xuanyou (L), during their meeting at the foreign ministry building in Seoul on Thursday. Photo by Yonhap
Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Top diplomats of South Korea and China in charge of North Korea nuclear negotiations met in Seoul on Thursday and agreed to "cooperate" for progress on the Korean Peninsula, according to local reports.
Lee Do-hoon, Seoul's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou ahead of a possible second U.S.-North Korea summit, News 1 reported.
Lee told Kong Beijing has played a "constructive role in the past year" on North Korea and affairs are moving in a positive direction.
Lee briefed Kong on the South Korean position on recent events: Kim Jong Un has expressed a willingness for talks in his New Year's Day address, the recent China-North Korea summit signaled progress.
"This year will be important for achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and a lasting peace settlement," Lee said, adding Seoul expects a Kim visit to the South but a "long road lies ahead."
Kong agreed progress has been made on the peninsula, according to KBS.
Lee met with the Chinese envoy the same day a U.S.-South Korean working group held a video conference to discuss measures to waive some North Korean sanctions affecting projects at the demilitarized zone.
A North-South joint investigation of North Korean railroads and infrastructure that has been delayed because of embargoes could take place, if restrictions are lifted.
The two sides agreed to waive some of those sanctions against North Korea, but changes are not likely to take place right away, according to KBS.
Foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said a review of various equipment related to the inspections is expected to be time consuming.
U.S. officials also told the South Koreans it would be inappropriate for South Korean business executives to visit Kaesong, a shuttered factory park in the North.
A business committee in the South has requested several visits, but all requests have been turned down since President Moon Jae-in assumed office.