South Korean Unification Minister visits US to fan ties with Pyongyang



South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon today took off for the United States, where he hopes to help break the blockade in the dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang over denuclearization and boost inter-Korean ties, a spokeswoman for the ministry told EFE.

It is very possible that during his five-day trip Cho, head of the portfolio responsible for relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, meets with the head of US Foreign Affairs, Mike Pompeo, although the Secretary of State has not yet confirmed the encounter.

The trip of the South Korean minister, the first of a head of Unification to the US in four years, comes at a time when the disarmament talks between the regime and the White House seem to go through another blip.

Last week, North Korea canceled at the last minute a meeting between its intelligence officer, Kim Yong-chol, and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in which progress was expected for the holding of a new summit between the American President, Donald Trump, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

It also comes at a time of apparent friction between the Seoul-Washington alliance over the maintenance of international sanctions that weigh on the regime.

South Korea has shown its willingness to expand cross-border economic exchanges with the North, something that the sanctions packages do not allow.

Washington maintains that there will be no relaxation of these punishments until Pyongyang does not undertake more weighty actions that certify its commitment to denuclearization.

In that sense, Cho is likely to emphasize Seoul's argument that an improvement in inter-Korean ties can benefit the North Korean denuclearization process and request White House cooperation to allow more exchanges between the two Koreas.

During his trip, the South Korean minister also plans to meet with the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, Republican Ed Royce, and visit the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), for which many experts work. in North Korea.

Precisely the CSIS published on Monday a report on the existence of between 15 and 20 silos of missiles whose existence the Kim Jong-un regime keeps secret.

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