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Moon Jae-in asks for U.S. diplomatic push on North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at the presidential Blue House on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Blue House/EPA-EFE
South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at the presidential Blue House on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Blue House/EPA-EFE

July 22 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in requested the United States' No. 2 diplomat to make efforts to resume U.S. dialogue with North Korea during a meeting at the presidential Blue House on Thursday.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is on a diplomatic tour of Asia, said in response that she expects North Korea will reply soon to U.S. offers of dialogue, the Blue House said, according to Newsis on Thursday.

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Sherman also reportedly said that the Biden administration hopes to work closely with Seoul in a coordinated effort on North Korea policy, according to South Korean presidential spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee.

The U.S. State Department said after the meeting that the two sides "agreed on the importance of consultations to address [North Korea] issues."

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The senior U.S. diplomat is in South Korea after meeting with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo. Sherman did not meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Moon told Sherman on Thursday that "U.S. diplomacy is back" under President Joe Biden, a reference to Biden's remarks to world leaders that "America is back" after four years of President Donald Trump, who departed from the policies of his predecessors by pressuring allies like Seoul to pay more for defense costs.

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"I hope that you will contribute to the U.S.-South Korea alliance and to peace on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said.

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Sherman said that the United States and South Korea are in lockstep and, unlike the title of Korean boy band BTS' new hit song "Permission to Dance," the two allies need "no permission" -- a reference to high levels of trust and shared views on global leadership, Seoul's Blue House said.

Yonhap reported Sherman met with Seoul's spy agency chief Suh Hoon to discuss ways to resume inter-Korean dialogue and to "comprehensively develop" the bilateral alliance.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that the two sides also discussed climate change, human rights and the rule of law in the region, but did not mention China by name.

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Sherman is to visit China after traveling to Mongolia.

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