US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (left) prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, June 28, 2017. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)
SEOUL - Top diplomats of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States made a phone call to discuss issues on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.
ROK's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha had a telephone conversation earlier in the day with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss measures to deal with the nuclear issue and recent situations on the Korean Peninsula.
Kang and Tillerson shared their views over top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un's New Year address
Kang and Tillerson shared their views over top DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) leader Kim Jong-un's New Year address, agreeing to continue efforts to peacefully resolve the DPRK's nuclear issue through close cooperation between the two allies.
Kim said in his New Year speech Monday that the DPRK was willing to participate in the ROK-hosted winter sports event scheduled for February and to talk with Seoul about it.
The ROK proposed Tuesday to the DPRK holding a senior-level, inter-governmental dialogue on Jan 9 to discuss issues of mutual concern, including the DPRK's dispatch of its delegation to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The two Koreas reopened the cross-border communication channel in the truce village of Panmunjom, having the first contract via the hotline earlier in the day for the first time in almost two years.
During the phone talks, Kang explained to Tillerson about the background of ROK's proposal for talks with the DPRK, stressing her country's basic stance that Seoul planned to improve inter-Korean relations and peacefully resolve the peninsula's nuclear issue by taking the opportunity of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
In response, Tillerson agreed to continue diplomatic efforts to encourage the DPRK to come to a path of meaningful denuclearization in close cooperation between the ROK and the United States.