May 24, 2024
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during a Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. [AFP/YONHAP]

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during a Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. [AFP/YONHAP]

 
U.S. ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will arrive in Seoul on Sunday, for the first visit to South Korea in eight years by a person in the position.
 
Thomas-Greenfield will reaffirm the United States’ “ironclad” security partnership with South Korea and its openness to “unconditional” dialogue with North Korea during her visit, which will include a trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and meetings with North Korean defectors, according to senior U.S. officials on Friday.

 
The top U.S. envoy will visit the DMZ and meet with defectors on Tuesday, before departing to Japan to continue her East Asia trip.

 
“The message that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will send by visiting the DMZ is that the security partnership with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan is ironclad,” the official said in an online press briefing. “She wants to obviously go to the DMZ to get a firsthand look at the situation there.” The Republic of Korea is South Korea’s official name.

 

 
“I think the message that she will repeat is that the United States is open to unconditional dialogue with the DPRK,” the official continued, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “We have offered this dialogue, we’ve opened it with an open hand, and what we’ve received back from the DPRK is a clenched fist.”

 
Thomas-Greenfield will also meet with senior South Korean officials and speak with students at Ewha Womans University during her visit, according to her office. In Japan, she will meet with family members of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago.

 
The trip this time is mainly to discuss the “next steps to ensure a continuation of independent and accurate reporting of the DPRK’s ongoing weapons proliferation and sanctions evasion activities,” according to Thomas-Greenfield’s office last week. An alternate method of monitoring sanctions on North Korea is needed as the UN Security Council’s panel of experts will expire on April 30, following Russia’s veto of a Security Council resolution that would have renewed the panel’s mandate.
 
In this regard, South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul said last Friday that “a new monitoring mechanism to replace the panel of experts is being planned with our allies.”
 

BY LIM JEONG-WON [[email protected]]


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