U.S. special representative on North Korea Stephen Biegun will travel to Moscow on Tuesday as part of a three country tour to discuss developments on the Korean peninsula.
The meeting comes amid tension between the U.S. and Russia over North Korea, highlighted during a clash last month at the UN Security Council (UNSC).
“Special Representative (SR) Biegun will travel to Moscow, Paris, and Brussels for working-level meetings with his counterparts,” a State Department spokesperson told NK News on Monday.
“SR Biegun will regularly travel to meet with allies and partners as we work towards the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”
According to Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency, the U.S. representative will meet with Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov when in Moscow.
“Tomorrow, I will have a meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korean Stephen Biegun,” Morgulov said in comments carried by Tass.
“We will hold a full round of consultations on the situation on the Korean peninsula.”
While the State Department did not elaborate on the content of the discussions, Moscow and Washington are currently divided on the role of sanctions in North Korea’s denuclearization.
At the UN, Russia has been one of the most vocal proponents of easing international restrictions against the DPRK, while the U.S. affirms they should remain in place until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons.
“It is unacceptable for sanctions against the DPRK to become an instrument of collective punishment. The lack of trust between Washington and Pyongyang hinders the development of joint measures,” Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the UNSC on September 27.
“Against the backdrop of Pyongyang’s readiness to cooperate… it seems inappropriate and untimely when our Western partners have imposed a course towards tightening the sanctions regime against the DPRK. ”
On October 10, Russia, North Korea, and China issued a joint communiqué calling for UN sanctions to be re-examined, saying that a “timely review” of the UN’s measures was necessary.
Washington has also called Russia’s enforcement of existing resolutions into question, recently sanctioning Russian companies, individuals and vessels for violating the UN’s restrictions.
The U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also publicly accused Russia of breaching the UN’s restrictions as recently as mid-September.
“Why after voting for sanctions 11 different times is Russia backing away from them? We know the answer. Its because Russia has been cheating. And now they’ve been caught,” Haley said at the UNSC.
“Step by step, sanction by sanction, and time and time again, Russia is working across the board to undermine the sanctions regime.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham