South Korean official meets with Hillary Clinton’s possible pick for Pentagon chief

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (UPI) — South Korea’s foreign minister met with a former aide to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of an upcoming “2+2” ministerial meeting in Washington, where the two sides are expected to discuss North Korea provocations during the meeting.

South Korea’s foreign minister Yun Byung-se said Monday the talks are to cover details of cooperation on the “extended deterrence” and other ways to “counter the North Korea threat,” Yonhap reported.

Yun made the remarks in Seoul while meeting with Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012, and a group of young experts affiliated with Flournoy’s Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Yun also said the advancement of North Korea’s nuclear capability is a danger that transcends Northeast Asia and poses a “direct threat to the United States,” according to the report.

Flournoy is believed to be the top choice for defense secretary, if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is elected in November.

The meeting with Flournoy is part of Seoul’s strategy to ensure a seamless transition that, in Yun’s words, involves “close consultation” designed to avoid “miscalculations” on North Korea.

According to the U.S. State Department, the “2+2” Ministerial meeting to be held Wednesday will be attended by State Secretary John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Yun and South Korea’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

On Monday North Korea defended its nuclear weapons, and stated its program has reached a new high point, according to state media.

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