"The United States supports inter-Korean cooperation and coordinates with our ROK ally to ensure inter-Korean cooperation proceeds in lockstep with progress on denuclearization."
That's what an official at the U.S. State Department said when asked to comment on recent remarks by South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
The comment appears to show that Washington is still wary of any attempt by Seoul to revive inter-Korean projects at a different pace to North Korea-U.S. relations.
The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Harry Harris, also said Thursday that South Korea should consult with the U.S. about its plans to engage with the North.
The next day, South Korea's Presidential Office rebuked the U.S. envoy for his remarks, saying it's up to the South Korean government to make decisions when it comes to matters of inter-Korean cooperation.
Asked to comment on that, the State Department official said Washington and Seoul are closely coordinating on efforts related to North Korea and they are focusing on coordinating a united response to that end.
Seoul's top nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon said Friday that he was able to reaffirm Washington's support for improving Pyeongyang-Seoul relations.
In a meeting the previous day between Lee and his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun in Washington, the allies agreed to work closely on inter-Korean relations, the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.