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Senior U.S. diplomat in S. Korea for talks on N. Korea

All News 15:01 January 27, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Seoul on Wednesday to coordinate the allies' response to North Korea's nuclear test.

Ambassador Thomas Shannon, counselor of the State Department and nominee for under secretary of state for political affairs, flew in from Tokyo for a two-day stay, during which he plans to meet with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam.

Through his visit, Seoul and Washington plan to strengthen their coordination on responding to North Korea's fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6. In the meetings, the two sides will also discuss a wide range of other issues, such as cooperation on the regional and global stage, both governments said.

In a meeting with reporters in Tokyo, Shannon said he would seek China's cooperation in drawing a strong U.N. sanctions resolution to punish the North for its nuclear test, according to media reports.

China, one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, has shown a lukewarm attitude toward imposing tough sanctions on Pyongyang out of concerns for its own security interests.

Shannon said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in Beijing to deliver Washington's firm stance on the issue.

Washington and Seoul have been pushing for "strong and comprehensive" sanctions that will force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons for good.

Shannon also commented on last month's landmark agreement between Seoul and Tokyo to resolve the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The deal was not only in the interests of the two countries but also of the U.S., in all areas, including foreign affairs, security and the economy, he said.

The U.S. has urged South Korea and Japan to overcome their disputes over history and improve ties, seeking to strengthen trilateral cooperation in the face of a rising China.

hague@yna.co.kr
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