US envoy arrives in Seoul for talks with ROK on missile launches

US envoy arrives in Seoul for talks with ROK on missile launches

US Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea DPRK Sung Kim speaks with his Republic of Korea ROK counterpart not in frame during their bilateral meeting at a hotel in Seoul, ROK on June 21, 2021. JUNG YEON-JE POOL AFP SEOUL - The US envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea arrived in Seoul on Monday for talks with his Republic of Korea counterparts on ways to address Pyongyang's increased missile launches and concerns over the possible resumption of nuclear testing.

A five-day visit will include US Special Representative Sung Kim and his deputy, Jung Pak, and ROK officials, including nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk.

Their arrival coincided with the start of a nine-day joint military drill by the US and ROK troops. The exercise is a defensive command post training using computer simulation and won't involve field maneuvers by troops, ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday.

The joint drills have been scaled back in recent years due to efforts to engage Pyongyang in diplomacy, and due to COVID 19 restrictions, and they have condemned the joint drills as rehearsals for war.

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On Saturday, the DPRK test fired what state media said were missiles involved in delivering tactical nuclear weapons.

On arrival, Kim told reporters that he was in Seoul to continue close coordination on DPRK developments, according to Yonhap news agency.

He said he is open to talks with DPRK at any time and without preconditions, but Pyongyang has so far rebuffed those overtures, accusing Washington of maintaining hostile policies such as sanctions and military drills.

Kim is expected to meet the transition team for President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who takes office in May, according to ROK media.

A team spokeswoman said there was no meeting between Yoon and Kim, and it could not be immediately confirmed whether the envoy would be meeting other transition officials.