Security Advisers of South Korea, US, and Japan Meet in San Francisco

Ben Cho, March 20, 2018, 8:56 a.m.

National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong met with White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Japan's National Security Adviser Shotaro Yachi in San Francisco last weekend. They also met in San Francisco last August and again in January to discuss North Korean issues. All three meetings took place after the leaders of South Korea and the U.S. spoke over the telephone to work out the big picture.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said, "Talks were held to discuss the inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korean summits scheduled for April and May."A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said, "The three sides agreed on the importance of the inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korean summits not only for peace on the Korean Peninsula, but for the entire Northeast Asian region."

The three officials met for the first time on Aug. 26 of last year after the North conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile launches and threatened to attack Guam. Trump countered by threatening "fire and fury."

The second meeting on Jan. 13-14 came immediately after North Korea decided to take part in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The San Francisco meetings demonstrate that Cheong Wa Dae and the White House prefer to communicate directly rather than through the Foreign Ministry and State Department when it comes to the North Korean nuclear issue.

One diplomatic source said, "Trump was suspicious of State Department officials, while key positions there were vacant, so it was probably necessary to deal directly with the White House."

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