US envoy for DPRK to visit ROK, Japan amid tension

Saturday, 2019-12-14 11:34:42
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In this Aug 21, 2019 photo, US special envoy for the DPRK Stephen Biegun shakes hands with his ROK counterpart Lee Do-hoon during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. (Source: AFP)
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US special envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Stephen Biegun will visit Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan in the coming week amid escalating tensions between the United States and the DPRK, said the US State Department on December 13.

Biegun will travel to Seoul and Tokyo on December 15-19 to meet his counterparts there and continue "close allied coordination" on the DPRK, according to a statement released by the department.

The special envoy's visit comes as a year-end deadline set by Pyongyang for Washington to change its policies looms.

The Korean Central News Agency also reported Sunday that the DPRK carried out "a very important test" at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Deccember 7.

In response, US President Donald Trump said the DPRK side risks losing "everything" if it acts "in a hostile way."

Denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since the second summit between the DPRK's Chairman Kim Jong Un and Trump in Hanoi in February ended without a deal. The two leaders first met in Singapore in June 2018.