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S. Korea to extend mandate of task force on N. Korean nuke crisis

All Headlines 11:13 March 14, 2010

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign ministry plans to extend the mandate of its provisional task force on the North Korean nuclear crisis by another year before seeking to turn it into a permanent organization, a ministry official said Sunday.

The task force, now led by Seoul's top nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac, was launched in March 2006 to handle policy and strategy on resolving the nuclear issue and ways to bring lasting peace to the peninsula.

Its first three-year mandate expired last year but it was extended for another year.

"The operating term of the Office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs is slated to end on March 28," the official said. "To begin with, we plan to extend it until March next year."

He added the ministry will push to turn the office into a standing body, citing the complex characteristics of the nuclear issue and the time and effort required to create strategies for peace.

Rep. Song Min-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party and about 30 other lawmakers submitted a bill earlier this month to that effect, saying South Korea needs a standing task force to meet long-term demand to deal with the complicated problem of resolving the nuclear crisis and setting up a workable peace regime on the peninsula.

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