Mentioning the 2018 Singapore Summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said its potential regarding denuclearization can still be realized.
"Regrettably, much opportunity has been squandered by our North Korean counterparts over the past two years. Yet, remarkably, the potential of the Singapore Summit is still fully present, despite our failure to advance what was agreed."
Giving a lecture in Seoul on Thursday, Biegun was asked what advice he would give to the incoming Biden administration to which said he would encourage all parties to continue, with a sense of urgency and priority, to seek opportunities for Pyeongyang and Washington.
He also said that diplomacy is still the best way to resolve challenges regarding North Korea.
"Pyeongyang has some pivotal events coming up, in particular the Eighth Party Congress in January. We strongly encourage North Korea to use the time between now and then to set a path for the resumption of diplomacy."
Regarding the Hanoi Summit in 2019 that fell apart, Biegun said they didn't have enough time to fully explore the limits of what might be possible, in part because the North Korean negotiating team was not empowered to discuss those issues.
He added that they need to develop trust in order to explore more parameters and details.
On Thursday, Seoul's vice foreign minister Choi Jong-kun had a dinner with Biegun and his team, serving them Korean chicken stew called 'dakhanmari', one of Biegun's favorite Korean dishes.
On Friday, Biegun will meet his counterpart Lee Do-hoon for a luncheon and foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha for a banquet.
He is due to leave Seoul early on Saturday.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.