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Kerry to travel to Laos for ARF next week

All News 05:17 July 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Yonhap) --- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Laos next week for a series of annual regional meetings, including the ARF foreign ministers' conference, the State Department announced Tuesday.

Kerry will be in the Lao capital of Vientiane from July 25-26 for a series of annual meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Asia's biggest annual security gathering, known as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), according the department.

"At these ASEAN meetings, the secretary will discuss the region's security architecture and shared transnational challenges including maritime security, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea," the department said in a statement.

ARF is one of the rare international gatherings that North Korea has regularly attended and brings together the top diplomats from 27 countries, including all countries involved in the six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear program.

The North's new foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, is expected to attend next week's meeting.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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