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U.S., South Korea diplomats discussed dialogue with North Korea, Seoul says

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (foreground) has sought the resumption of dialogue with North Korea since the restoration of an inter-Korean hotline last week. File Photo by Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/UPI
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (foreground) has sought the resumption of dialogue with North Korea since the restoration of an inter-Korean hotline last week. File Photo by Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. and South Korean director-level diplomats held discussions on resuming U.S.-North Korea dialogue for the first time since Seoul and Pyongyang restored a military communication hotline, according to Seoul.

South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday the meeting between U.S. Deputy Special Representative Jung Pak and Rim Kap-soo, the director general of the ministry's peace regime bureau addressed the process of reengaging North Korea, Yonhap and Herald Business reported.

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"The two sides reaffirmed that to achieve substantive progress in the Korean Peninsula peace process, the swift resumption of dialogue between the South and the North and between the North and the United States is essential," the ministry said.

"They had concrete, in-depth consultations on ways for the early resumption of talks between the North and the U.S. as well as for progress in inter-Korean relations."

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The director-level meeting between the two sides was agreed upon in June after U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim's visit to Seoul. The director-level discussions have replaced the bilateral "working group" talks that were held during the Trump administration, according to Herald Business.

Ahead of the meeting Wednesday South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Gyu-duk held discussions with U.S. counterparts last week, the report said.

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The two sides also agreed to hold director-level discussions at least every quarter and addressed ways to implement a joint statement from U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in issued in May, according to Hankyoreh.

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South Korea could be seeking to build momentum in inter-Korean relations after the restoration of the inter-Korean hotline.

Newsis reported Thursday Seoul's unification ministry is seeking to exchange information relevant to natural disaster prevention with North Korea.

Pyongyang's state media reported Wednesday parts of the country have received heavy rains and warned of potential floods.

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