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Park's security adviser to visit U.S. for talks on NK

All News 10:50 January 31, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- A senior South Korean presidential security adviser will visit the United States soon to discuss North Korea's possible long-range missile test and other issues, multiple government sources said Sunday.

Seoul and Washington are at the final stage of fine-tuning details for talks between Cho Tae-yong, deputy chief of the presidential office of national security, and his American counterpart, the sources said.

"The government's chief delegate for the upcoming strategic talks with the U.S. is almost set," one of the sources said. "The meeting will come in the not-so-distant future because there is the North Korean nuclear situation and it has elements related to North Korean issues."

It would mark the first such high-level strategic meeting between the two countries.

The meeting is a follow-up to a summit between President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama in October where they agreed to hold high-level strategic talks between the two countries to help create favorable conditions for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

The high-level talks will likely be held in February with Cho leading a delegation composed of senior officials from ministries of foreign affairs, unification and defense, according to the sources.

They said Avril Haines, deputy national security advisor, is expected to be Cho's counterpart.

The meeting was originally intended to fine-tune the two countries' policy on North Korea but is anticipated to focus on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile issues.

The two sides are also forecast to hold in-depth discussions about slapping strong sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test on Jan. 6 and the idea of deploying the U.S. Terminal High Attitude Area Defense missile defense system to South Korea to better defend against the North.

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