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Clinton with no plans to meet N. Korean FM in Bali: State Dept.

All Headlines 04:59 July 19, 2011

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no plans to meet her North Korean counterpart on the sidelines of an annual security forum in Bali later this week, a Washington official said Monday.

“There are no plans for Secretary Clinton or other State Department officials to meet with the DPRK foreign minister in Bali,”a State Department official told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be named. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Clinton and the North's top diplomat, Pak Ui-chun, are scheduled to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), opening Thursday for a three-day run on the Indonesian resort island.

The U.S. has insisted that North Korea hold dialogue with South Korea ahead of any talks with Washington.

The ARF may set the stage for the two Koreas to ease tensions.

South Korean officials hinted at the possibility that Seoul's foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan, will meet bilaterally with the North's minister in Bali.

They said Seoul will not push for the inclusion of the issue of the North's deadly attacks in 2010 into an official document to sum up the results of the ARF session.

A South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine in March and the western border island of Yeonpyeong was shelled by the North eight months later. Forty eight soldiers and two civilians were killed.

The softened stance was revealed after President Lee Myung-bak told his reunification-related policy advisers on July 1, "Although unstable security conditions have been created due to the sinking of the Cheonan and the Yeonpyeong incident, we can no longer linger on those points."

Meanwhile, the North Korean foreign minister arrived in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, over the weekend en route to Bali, the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported earlier Monday.

In 2004, then-North Korean Foreign Minister Paik Nam-sun had an informal, 20-minute meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell during the ARF in Jakarta. The two sides have not arranged such a meeting since then.


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