April 16, 2019 / 5:25 PM / in 4 days

U.S. envoy to North Korea to visit Moscow, discuss denuclearization

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun stands on the tarmac as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards his plane at Nom Bar International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will visit Moscow this week to discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearization, the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Biegun will meet with Russian officials in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday “to discuss efforts to advance the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” the department said, but gave no further details.

The Trump administration is still seeking to reach a denuclearization deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un following two summits between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump that have so far failed to solidify an agreement. Trump administration officials have floated the possibility of a third summit.

Meanwhile, RIA news agency last month reported that Kim planned to visit Russia for talks this spring or summer. Earlier on Tuesday, Yonhap news agency reported that plans were underway for a summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United States in March also imposed a new round of sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, following the collapse of talks between Trump and Kim in February.

Reporting by David Alexander Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy

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