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Seoul and Washington’s nuclear envoy to discuss North Korea

Troops spotted in North Korean outposts in DMZ

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Seoul and Washington’s point men on North Korea are to meet and discuss the developments on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

According to the ministry, Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will meet with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and discuss the situation on the peninsula and the allies’ response. It did not give details on whne or where the discussions would take place.

Arriving in the US on Wednesday, Lee declined to comment on the purpose of the visit, saying he cannot reveal any information.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry had withheld information about Lee’s trip until after he was seen arriving in the US by media there, prompting speculation that Lee was sent as a special envoy of President Moon Jae-in. Cheong Wa Dae, however, disputed related reports, saying that the trip was planned some time ago.

Meanwhile, North Korea continued to raise tension and warn of further actions Thursday, with the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun saying that demolition of the liaison office in Kaesong “is only the start.”

Saying that a series of actions will be taken, the paper said that these actions could “be far beyond the imagination” of South Korean authorities.

The paper also warned that the North Korean military’s statement that action plans are under review should be taken seriously.

On Wednesday, the North’s military revealed that it will deploy units in Kaesong Industrial Complex and Kumgangsan resort area, and that additional plans are under review. Wednesday’s statement also revealed plans to redeploy troops to outposts in the demilitarized zone, and that units along the border will be put on higher alert level.

The North appeared to be following through on the warning on Thursday, with troops being spotted in a number of outposts. It remains unclear whether the troops were deployed as part of the plans revealed Wednesday, or in response to the raised alert level in the border area.

With North Korea raising tensions, South Korean military has stepped up surveillance activities, and warned Pyongyang against following through with its plans.

According to a high-level military official, South Korea is closely monitoring activities across the border, but that no major movement has been spotted so far.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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