Amidst halt over military drills, US envoy of North Korea to visit South

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South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced on Friday (Aug 20) that the US ambassador for North Korea will visit the country this weekend amid a standoff over military exercises between the two countries that the North has warned might lead to a security crisis.
Sung Kim, the US special envoy for North Korea, will arrive in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day visit, during which he will meet with his counterpart in South Korea.
“On Monday, Noh will meet with Kim to discuss methods to work together to achieve real progress toward complete denuclearization and long-term peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry said in a statement.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the allies launched yearly military drills this week, mainly employing computer simulations with minimal soldiers and no live field training. North Korea sees such drills as a warm-up for a war with the United States.
It cautioned South Korea that the drills might jeopardize a tentative thaw in relations between the two Koreas, which reconnected hotlines last month after a year of suspension by North Korea. The North ceased answering the hotlines shortly after preliminary preparation for the exercises began last week.
Ms. Kim Yo Jong, North Korea’s sister, and an essential ruling party official, accused the South of “perfidious behaviour.”
North Korea is holding its summer drills, but South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook told legislators that the North had made no extraordinary military maneuvers, dismissing media allegations that it was ready to test missiles.

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