Seoul to Host Trilateral Talks Among Nuclear Envoys of South Korea, U.S., and Japan

SEOUL: Top nuclear envoys from South Korea, the United States, and Japan are scheduled to convene in Seoul this week to deliberate on North Korea's recent military activities and its strengthening relationship with Russia, as announced by South Korea's foreign ministry.

The meeting, set to occur on Thursday, will feature South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, Kim Gunn, alongside his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Jung Pak and Hiroyuki Namazu, respectively. Kim is also slated for individual bilateral discussions with Pak earlier on the same day and with Namazu on Wednesday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, during the press briefing, the envoys "plan to share their assessments of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's recent provocations and escalating tensions, its military cooperation and exchanges with Russia, and discuss measures to respond."

This trilateral dialogue follows closely on the heels of North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui's scheduled talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday. The Kremlin has expressed intentions to expand its partnership with Pyongyang across various sectors.

Choe's visit to Russia has raised concerns, particularly regarding North Korea's alleged provision of weapons to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine and in exchange for Russia's technical aid in advanced arms development. North Korea recently conducted an intermediate-range ballistic missile test into the East Sea, marking its first ballistic missile launch this year, after firing artillery shells near the western sea border on January 5 and 7.

In a recent key parliamentary meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un emphasized South Korea as an "invariable principal enemy" in the nation's constitution, indicating a readiness for war if necessary.

The upcoming talks among the nuclear envoys also mark the first such meeting since Pak, previously the deputy U.S. nuclear envoy, assumed her new role as the "senior official for the DPRK" (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), replacing Sung Kim.

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