Top diplomats of United States, South Korea discuss ways to engage North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong have discussed efforts to engage with North Korea, including the prospect of humanitarian aid, their offices said on Friday.

While the allies both want North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and end its missile programme, they have at times disagreed on the approach, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in keen to build economic ties between the two Koreas while the United States has long insisted on action on denuclearisation as a first step.

South Korea’s foreign ministry, in a statement on the call between Blinken and Chung, said they had agreed to hold detailed discussions on ways to cooperate with North Korea, including humanitarian cooperation, and continue to make efforts to engage with it. “The secretary and the minister agreed to continue the coordinated diplomatic efforts … to make substantial progress toward the goal of complete denuclearisation and establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry said.