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South Korea envoy leaves for Washington and 'cooperative talks'

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea envoy leaves for Washington and 'cooperative talks'
South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon is headed to Washington. EPA-EFE/YONHAP

SEOUL, March 5 (UPI) -- South Korea's special envoy on peninsula affairs left Seoul for the United States on Tuesday, less than a week after the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un collapsed in Hanoi.

Lee Do-hoon, Seoul's top nuclear negotiator, is expected to meet with his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun in Washington, Newsis reported.

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Lee could be traveling to the United States to learn more about the details of Trump's potential mega-settlement with Kim, which the president had referred to as "the big deal."

The South Korean diplomat met with reporters at Incheon International Airport and said he plans to meet with U.S. special representative for North Korea Biegun and other members of the Trump administration.

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"We will analyze the results of the last Hanoi Summit, and discuss future plans while cooperating more strongly," Lee said.

The meetings are to take place Tuesday through Thursday in Washington.

A South Korean foreign ministry source while meeting with reporters said Tuesday the two sides are using diplomatic channels to discuss the implications of the second uranium enrichment facility Trump raised during the press conference in Hanoi last week.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in called together a meeting of his national security council on Monday following the breakdown of U.S.-North Korea talks, according to Yonhap and other local news services.

Moon is strengthening his commitment to his policy of engagement with North Korea. He has called for a trilateral meeting among the three countries that will include an array of current and former officials.

Moon also wants to discuss with the United States the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and tourism to Mount Kumgang.

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The trilateral talks may not be discussed this week, however.

Lee said Tuesday there are no plans for the talks, according to Yonhap.

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