A US special representative for North Korea will travel to Seoul to discuss missile launches

A US special representative for North Korea will travel to Seoul to discuss missile launches ...

SEOUL, April 15 (Reuters) - The US ambassador for North Korea will meet with South Korean counterparts to discuss the international response to the North's recent intercontinental ballistic missile launches (ICBM), according to the State Department.

Sung Kim, the US Special Representative, has stated that he is open to discussions with North Korea at any time and without conditions, but that Pyongyang has so far opposed those overtures, accusing Washington of adopting hostile policies like sanctions and military drills.

For the first time since 2017, a North Korea probe has fired an ICBM, and officials in the United States and South Korea have stated that it may also be preparing to resume nuclear weapons tests.

During a five-day trip starting Monday, Kim and his deputy, Jung Pak, will meet with South Korean officials, including nuclear secretary Noh Kyu-duk.

The visit underscores the United States' and South Korean commitment to ongoing collaboration on North Korean issues as they "seek to progress complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula," according to a statement.

According to a draft resolution submitted by Reuters, the United States is pushing the United Nations Security Council to further sanction North Korea for its more aggressive missile launches. It includes banning tobacco, halving oil shipments to the country, and blacklisting the Lazarus hacking group.

South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who is set to take office on May 10, has called for stronger connections with the United States to prevent the North.

His successor to a unity minister who handles relations with the North said on Thursday that a Yoon administration might be "hardline" and "hawkish" as it seeks to build up its military capabilities to deter North Korean threats, but he intends to forego dialogue to alleviate tensions.

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