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Seoul, Tokyo, Washington envoys condemn Pyongyang’s nuclear development

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Kim Gunn, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, right, meets with Funakoshi Takehiro, director-general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Thursday. [YONHAP]
Kim Gunn, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, right, meets with Funakoshi Takehiro, director-general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Thursday. [YONHAP]

South Korean, Japanese and American nuclear envoys condemned North Korea’s continued nuclear development and infringement of the fundamental rights of its citizens in their back-to-back meetings in Seoul on Thursday.

“The two chief representatives shared their assessments of the grave situation on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea’s unprecedented parade of provocations, and strongly condemned North Korea’s provocations that clearly violated a number of UN Security Council resolutions,” said the Foreign Ministry in its statement following the meeting between Kim Gunn, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea.

The envoys also agreed to strengthen efforts to raise awareness on North Korea’s illegal cyber activities that have been a main source of the regime’s extortion of cryptocurrency and also to encourage the international community to repatriate North Korean workers to implement the UN Security Council resolutions.

“Both the United States and South Korea have repeatedly called on North Korea to engage in dialogue, but it has been North Korea that had rejected the proposals,” said the ministry.

After his meeting with the U.S. envoy, Kim met with Funakoshi Takehiro, director-general for the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry, in Seoul on Thursday.

In condemning North Korea for raising security tensions in the region with its repeated provocations, the South Korean and Japanese nuclear envoys emphasized the importance of South Korea-Japan and South Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation to address North Korean threats.

They also discussed human rights violations by the North Korean regime, such as the issue of political detainees, defectors and separated families, agreeing to strengthen bilateral cooperation to inform the international community of the human rights violations in North Korea.

American nuclear envoy Kim also met with Foreign Minister Park Jin on Thursday.

The three envoys were scheduled to host a trilateral meeting in Seoul on Friday.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]