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(LEAD) Foreign ministers of two Koreas meet at key ASEAN meeting

All Headlines 11:11 July 23, 2011

(ATTN: ADDS quote, background)

BALI, Indonesia, July 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan held a brief meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Pak Ui-chun, on the sidelines of a key ASEAN forum here, an official said Saturday.

The informal meeting between Kim and Pak came a day after the chief nuclear envoys from the two Koreas met for the first time since 2008 and agreed to make joint efforts to resume multilateral talks over the North's nuclear program as soon as possible.

"Before entering a session of the ASEAN Regional Forum this morning, Minister Kim had a brief talk with Pak," the South Korean official said on the condition of anonymity.

It was the first time that top diplomats from the two Koreas have met since a meeting at an ASEAN forum in July 2008 in Singapore.

On Friday, South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac and his newly appointed North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho agreed in Bali to work toward reopening the six-party talks on ending the North's nuclear program.

The talks between Wi and Ri raised cautious hopes for the resumption of the six-party process, which has been stalled for more than two years. The six-party talks involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

South Korea and the regional powers are pushing to reopen the six-party nuclear dialogue forum in a three-step approach in which North Korea will meet with South Korea first and then the U.S. for one-on-one talks on denuclearization before the multilateral process can take place.

Top diplomats from all six of the nations attended this year's ASEAN forum in Bali.


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