US Envoy to Visit Seoul as Deadline Looms for Stalled North Korea Talks

Biegun, South Korea Envoy to exchange views on North Korea talks

Though US officials have repeatedly said they don’t take North Korea’s year-end deadline seriously, their actions all give the impression that they are, with US envoy Stephen Biegun making a three-day trip to South Korea to discuss what to do about the deadline.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says the two sides are going to exchange views on “ways to bring substantial progress” to talks on denuclearization and peace. This suggests that the US is at least open to trying to salvage talks with North Korea.

South Korean sources speculated that Biegun’s visit is an attempt to at least make clear that the US wants to keep trying, without directly dealing with North Korea. Seeking direct advice from South Korea, however, may be difficult.

South Korea, after all, has been a lot more pro-diplomacy than the US has from the beginning, and would just as soon see a peace deal ending the Korean War, something the US has long resisted. In the past when talks looked to be in jeopardy, South Korea was quick to council the US to make a more direct effort.

North Korea has repeatedly made clear what they want out of future talks, which is a new equitable approach from the US, which would include North Korea getting something in return for future concessions. North Korea has said that time and again for months, and there has been no sign that the US is actively considering such an offer.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.