U.S., South Korea diplomats to meet next week

SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Senior diplomats of South Korea and the United States will meet next week to discuss issues of mutual concern, including North Korea‘s evolving nuclear and missile threats, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam will hold a strategic dialogue with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in Seoul on Oct. 18, according to the ministry.

The high-level meeting marks the seventh of its kind and comes after the latest gathering held in Washington in June 2014. It is also the first such meeting after President Moon Jae-in took office in May.

Lim and Sullivan are expected to discuss cooperation on major issues including their bilateral relations and North Korea’s nuclear program. They will also prepare for U.S. President Donald Trump‘s planned trip to Seoul in November, the ministry said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the two will hold a trilateral meeting with their Japanese counterpart, Shinsuke Sugiyama, the same day to discuss cooperation on the problem of the North’s nuclear program and other regional and global issues. They last met in Washington in January.

“The trilateral meeting will focus on strategic coordination related to the urgent threat from [North Korea’s] advancing nuclear weapons program and include discussion on regional and global areas of cooperation,” the State Department said in a separate release.

Before visiting Seoul, Sullivan will stop in Tokyo from Monday to Tuesday to hold a bilateral meeting with Sugiyama.

“He looks forward to engaging with U.S. Embassy staff in both Seoul and Tokyo, U.S. Forces Korea in Seoul, as well as representatives from the business community and civil society,” the department said.

The meetings come amid growing tension after the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation test early last month. It was followed by a bombastic war of words between Pyongyang and Washington, both of which hinted at military action against each other.


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