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South Korea pursuing path toward next U.S.-North Korea summit, Seoul says

South Korea has played an active role in encouraging dialogue between North Korea's Kim Jong Un (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump since 2018. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI
South Korea has played an active role in encouraging dialogue between North Korea's Kim Jong Un (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump since 2018. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | License Photo

July 6 (UPI) -- South Korea says it is making efforts to establish a path toward U.S.-North Korea dialogue despite tensions with Pyongyang.

Seoul's unification ministry said Monday diplomacy remains the objective despite a recent statement from North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

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Choe had said North Korea does not seek talks with the United States, according to North Korean state media on Saturday.

"We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the United States, as it does not consider [U.S.-North Korea] dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis," Choe had said.

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Last week during a videoconference summit with leaders of the European Union, South Korean President Moon Jae-in had proposed a third official summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

"South Korea hopes the United States pushes forward with U.S.-North Korea dialogue before the [U.S.] presidential election," Moon had said.

On Monday Seoul's unification ministry spokesman said South Korea's goal of supporting U.S.-North Korea dialogue is aligned with current policy.

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"There has been no change in the government's position on pursuing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a permanent peace settlement" when seeking U.S.-North Korea dialogue, Yoh Sang-key said.

Last week former White House national security adviser John Bolton had said Trump might meet with Kim before the election, as part of an "October Surprise."

In Seoul Moon is reportedly shuffling key figures in top government posts on North Korea policy, local paper Hankook Ilbo reported Monday.

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The South Korean leader has appointed three officials, Moon Chung-in, Chung Eui-yong and Lim Jong-seok as special advisers on diplomatic security.

Lim, a former student activist in the 1980s, was Moon's presidential secretary and helped coordinate the visit of top North Korean officials to the South during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. He is expected to be in charge of diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang, according to the report.

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